Thursday, April 30, 2009

Dinner at Leah's - Pasta with Sea Bass

Once in awhile fate throws me a bone, the stars align and my friend Leah calls to invite me over to dinner. If you know Leah and have had the pleasure to have tasted her food, then you know what an invitation like that is worth. Once in awhile came this Tuesday evening (after I had accidentally ridden the wrong bus 45 minutes in the wrong direction, but that's another story) and I couldn't have been more pleased. Leah offered to share the recipe, and I couldn't be more excited about it. This was a delicious dinner, as always. So this is Leah's entry, her story and recipe below. Thank you again dear friend!

Leah's Springtime Pasta

I love my house. Even though there seems to always be something that needs fixing or cleaning,its got great windows, a really deep bathtub, and just enough counter-space in the kitchen. Although, in my book, one can never have too much counter-space in the kitchen. But one of the things I love the most about it is that it is just 2 blocks from the Tuesday afternoon Farmer’s Market.

Right now the spring vegetables are abundant and hard to resist. Fava Beans just showed up and Green Garlic is aplenty, not to mention the sweetest Strawberries I can remember since last year, of course.

So, there was only one thing to do yesterday. Call Elissa, and invite her to an impromptu Springtime Pasta dinner.

The great thing about pasta is that you can sauté just about any combo of vegetables and mix them with fresh pasta (I love the Porcini Bucatini and the Sweet Pea Papardelle from the Phoenix Pastificio) and it is always deilish. Add a little chili flake or a splash of wine and you have a whole different flavor profile. It is seriously versatile and is only as complicated as you make it.

For this Pasta I used egg noodles and Sea Bass, so it is rich yet fresh and delicious. The little bit of mint is surprising and helps to round the flavors. And when served with a very simple green salad, ( it is spring-tastic.

Springtime Pasta

1 Bunch Dino Kale

3 Green Garlic stalks

4 Small Artichokes

1 Lemon (for artichoke soaking water)

Olive Oil

Kosher Salt / Fresh Ground Pepper

A few Mint leaves for garnish

Papardelle Pasta from Phoenix Pastificio or other fresh pasta

2 small Sea Bass fillets

Prep all vegetables. Slice the Green Garlic up to the tough green parts (about 2 inches from the very top) and cut the kale into thin ribbons. Trim Artichokes down to the choke and slice in half. Then soak in lemony water. ( Boil some salted water and blanch the artichoke hearts. Set aside.

Put about 2 tablespoons of Olive Oil in a large skillet and turn heat to med/high. Add Green Garlic and a pinch of salt and few grinds of fresh pepper, sauté until the smell starts to permeate your kitchen (3-5 min). Add Kale and mix together. Re-season with a little more Salt and Pepper Cook for another 3-5 minutes or until the Kale is shiny and pliable (but not super soft). Remove from skillet and set aside.

Add another 2 tablespoons of Olive Oil to the skillet and heat until just before smoking. Carefully place the halved Artichoke Hearts cut side down in the pan and cook until golden brown (2-3 min) flip the hearts and cook on other side. Remove from pan and place on paper town to drain excess oil. Sprinkle with a little salt.

Boil water for pasta. Cook fresh pasta for 3-4 minutes until al dente. Reserve ½ cup of cooking liquid. Drain and return to the pot. Add Kale mixture, pasta water and Mint chiffonade (;results_list) (reserve a little for final garnish) to the drained Pasta and toss to coat. Add a little more Olive Oil if it seems dry. Taste to check for seasoning.

Pat the fish fillets dry. Heat a skillet with olive oil until very hot (just before smoking). Sauté on both sides for 3-4 minutes or until it is just cooked through. Remove from pan and season with Salt and Pepper. (You can also broil the fish if you’d rather.) Don’t worry if it breaks up because you are going to flake it on top of the pasta anyway.

Plate the pasta and top with the fish pieces. Arrange the artichokes (about 3 halves for person is a good serving) and sprinkle a little mint on top.

Enjoy with a glass (or bottle) of Syrah or maybe a crisp Roussane and of course end your dinner with some of those sweet spring Strawberries.

1 comment: