Hi! We're home. We have taken every last pair of pajamas, every toothbrush, and even a final forgotten E & T Farm tomato from Alex's parents house. We're not quite in our own bed, mind you—things are still fairly messy upstairs—but we are in our own basement, and for me, for now, that feels amazingly, ecstatically good.
We spent the entire day yesterday cleaning—scrubbing every glass, every pot, every surface of the kitchen counters and shelves. The rest of the house won't be livable for a few days yet, but hey!—I figure with the kitchen down, we have covered at least the most important ground. We can now eat, and cook, and clean up—at least once we get a little rest.
In the meantime, I wanted to share with you a recipe I've made twice in the past week—an asparagus-spinach pasta, dressed with crushed pistachios and grated Parmesan and a garlic-lemon-EVO dressing. The inspiration came from a recipe for asparagus with an orange zest-pistachio aillade I tried from the Zuni Cafe Cookbook last spring. I liked the flavors, but there were too many odd ingredients, and it was too fussy. This take is fresh, and easy, and springy, and does a good job, I think, of showcasing the main star: the asparagus.
If you make it, let me know what you think. I'll be here, scrubbing away.
GARLIC-PISTACHIO ROTINI WITH SPINACH & ASPARAGUS
We can't pick from our asparagus patch yet (it still has another two years!), but Ron Backer's had spears at the Orleans farmers' market the past two weeks. As for the pasta, rotini is the corkscrew-shaped kind that comes in short, thumb-length pieces. It isn't the only option for this, but I like the way it catches the garlic and pistachios and spinach as it rolls around in the dish.
1/2 pound dry whole-wheat rotini or other pasta
5 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 cup shucked pistachios
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 pound spinach, washed
1 pound asparagus, woody ends snapped off and spears cut into roughly 1 and 1/2-inch pieces
juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
grated Parmesan to taste
Put the pasta on to boil.
Meanwhile, pulse the garlic in a food processor until finely minced. Add the pistachios and sea salt and pulse several times, until the pistachios are crumbled.
When the pasta is about 1 minute away from being fully cooked, add the spinach and asparagus to the pot. Stir well so that the vegetables are evenly cooked, and take care not to over cook the asparagus. When the pasta is fully cooked and the asparagus is still al dente, drain the water from the pot.
Toss the hot pasta and vegetables with the pistachio-garlic mixture, the olive oil, and the lemon juice. Add more salt to taste if needed. Let it sit for a few minutes to allow the flavors to meld, then serve still piping warm topped with grated Parmesan.