Monday, April 29, 2013

Recipe Rehab - "New" Pasta Primavera with Dandelion Greens, Mushrooms & Tomatoes

In this week's Meatless Monday feature we're experimenting with a new take on a somewhat tired Vegetarian Pasta dish:
Photo: NK
Primavera means spring in Italian, and nothing reminds me of the season like fresh produce. But Pasta Primavera the dish has quite the checkered history. It's actually an American invention, having nothing to do with Italy at all. Rumor has it that it was first served at Le Cirque in NYC. I don't know about you, but my experiences with Primavera have included limp Broccoli and Carrots in a woefully slimy, colorless sauce. Now you understand why we just had to make new! But first, do check out this brilliant and funny post from Poor Man's Feast on The Myth Of Pasta Primavera.

Our Primavera remake has received quite the zhuzhing. What's in it, you ask? Well, since I was thrilled to finally see nicely ripened Tomatoes at the market, they made the cut. I also set out to incorporate Dandelion Greens, an Italian favorite that has yet to gain wide popularity, in my recipe. Their slightly bitter, lemony quality really wakes up this dish. Finally, tender Oyster Mushrooms serve as the perfect sponge for all our subtle flavors, and fun Campanelle Pasta provides a worthy vehicle for this delicate yet hearty spring dish. 

Campanelle with Dandelion Greens, Oyster Mushrooms, and Tomatoes
Serves 2 
Oyster Mushroom, Photo: NK 

1 Small Bunch Dandelion Greens, roughly chopped into bite-sized pieces
1/2 Pound Campanelle Pasta or other curly pasta
1.5 Tablespoons Salted Butter
2 large Cloves Garlic, finely chopped
1 Oyster Mushroom, about the size of a fist with its core cut off to release the petal-shaped mushrooms.
2-3 Large Vine-Ripened Tomatoes, chopped

1/3 Cup good quality Grated Parmigiana Cheese
1 teaspoon Grated Lemon Zest
1/2 teaspoon Salt plus more to taste
Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Blanch Dandelion Greens in boiling salted water for 1 minute. Drain in a colander and rinse again with cold water to stop the cooking. Set aside. 

Set a large pot of salted water to boil for the Pasta.

Meanwhile, in large skillet, melt the Butter. Add in the Garlic and stir until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the Oyster Mushrooms and cook another 1 to 2 minutes until tender. 

Add the chopped Tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, for another 5 minutes. Tomatoes and Mushrooms should release a good deal of water which will become the basis of your sauce. Add a 1/2 teaspoon of Salt and the Lemon Zest. Stir and turn off the flame.

Once Pasta water is boiling cook Campanelle for about 10 minutes until almost cooked but still a bit firm. Drain, reserving at least 1/4 cup of the Pasta water.

Turn the heat back to a medium flame under the Vegetables. Pour Campanelle into the skillet and toss with the Vegetables. Add the Dandelion Greens to the skillet and stir. Add 2 or 3 Tablespoons of Pasta Water and allow liquids to bubble for about a minute, adding more liquid as desired until the Sauce thickens just a bit to the desired consistency. Turn off heat. 

Add the Parmigiana Cheese and toss through the Pasta. Finish with a generous sprinkling of Black Pepper. Taste for Salt and serve immediately. Enjoy! 

"New" Pasta Primavera with Dandelion Greens, Oyster Mushroom and Tomato, Photo: NK 

1 comment:

  1. I forgot the tomatoes in the ingredients list! Thanks to reader Gretchen for the heads up! It's all in there now. Enjoy :)