Monday, June 27, 2011

Birthday dinner: Pasta Primavera

After surveying the contents of the CSA I decided a simple and light pasta primavera was a great option. I had all of the needed ingredients on hand, score.  Plus I purchased a decadent after-dinner birthday treat. The biggest decision to make was what veggies to use. I thought the baby bok choy would add some fun and although I had use spinach in pasta never chard. Ultimately I didn't want to overwhelm the pasta with a garden salad and needed to narrow the list.

The staring players:
chicken stock, parmesan cheese, chard, carrots, the squash, garlic scapes, whole wheat penne, olive oil and salt, pepper and red pepper flakes
This is where I started, as I went along I added and subtracted as I felt the dish needed. This is not an exact science people. Plus it was 8pm when I started cooking. I was really torn regarding using the zucchini because I had it earmarked for a morning scrambled egg dish. Ah well, another time. See, I get so excited with zucchini and revisiting dishes I haven't tasted in months.

I figured out and easy and efficient way to dice up the garlic scapes. At first I just attempted dicing down the little curly-q's but that was a hot mess and was like cutting up a moving slithering snake (maybe this is the wrong metaphor since I've never done that). At any rate, I felt for the safety of my fingers with my new and recently sharpened kitchen knife I decided to first cute the scapes at each curve so it looked like this:

Then I was able to easily line these little guys up and dice down the line quickly and safely.

After sautĂ©ing the fresh veggies I added some frozen peas and the half cup of left over marinara sauce in the fridge. Meanwhile I boiled the water and cooked the pasta until el dente. So quick and easy - and delicious!

Since it's not a birthday party without a cake I happily obliged.
We both had 3 bites each. Half was left for the next day!
Oh and a chocolate raspberry macaroon to share. yum. 

I call this menu a delicious 30th birthday menu! The birthday boy was very happy with the food and his new vibram 5-finger birthday gift. 

Pasta Primavera - a la Amy (does this make it sound more authentic)
Serves 4

1/2 lb of your favorite pasta
Olive oil
1 medium onion diced
3 garlic scapes diced
1 small zucchini medium chop
1 yellow squash medium chop
2 medium carrots diced
3 swiss chard chopped
1/2 cup frozen peas
chicken stock
parmesan cheese freshly grated
salt and pepper to taste
pinch of red pepper flakes

Drizzle small amount of olive oil in pan on medium heat. Saute onion, garlic and carrots for about 5 minutes until slightly softened. Add zucchini, squash and chard for 3-5 more minutes, add spices. Add peas and then up to one cup of chicken stock and reduce by half.

At the same time boil water and cook pasta according to directions. Add pasta to vegetable mix. Do not rinse. Top generously with cheese and serve immediately.



  1. First things first, Happy birthday, Joel!

    Second, the picture of the bowls of pasta with the folk on them looks professionally done. Eleven gold stars to you! Second (and a half) it also looks SO yummy!

    Third, and I really feel you needed to see this coming... is that a single serve cake that the two of you couldn't finish? If it is, I need to find someone who is willing to berate you in person.

    It all looks/sounds glorious! Way to go!

  2. And also... you shared a macaroon? Seriously. They're like a two bite situation. What am I going to do with the two of you?

  3. I love your comment about the cake :) - we try to practice moderation ALSO the cake was so rich. A few bites were enough. However, I'm perfectly capable of eating a macaron, I love those little guys.

    Thanks about the photo - just my little point and click. Someday I'll have a fancy camera, someday...