It's spring in New York. Don't put away your winter clothes. Following a night of wind, rain and lightening, I wanted a dish that reminded me of spring. These are spring vegetables, but like the weather we've been having, they are frozen. I'm sure we'll get a few days of spring and I'm always hoping the summer won't be unbearable, but right now, these frozen spring vegetables were the best I could muster on a weekend better suited to staying in and fighting over the remote.
Let me set the picture for you. Neeta (Current Wife), is huddled on one side of our thankfully large couch wrapped in a blanket with only a few fingers showing vacillating between Channel 77 and Channel 96, the two "Indian music" stations on our Brooklyn Cable Channel network. One is for the "Caribbean Spotlight", a station of seemingly endless commercials for immigration lawyers, Guyanese or West Indian grocery stores, restaurants and bars whose owners save cash by producing, directing and starring in the commercials and occasional songs of aspiring dancers/singers who mimic the music of India's Bollywood. The other station is usually "Namaste America" consisting of endless commercials , shout-outs, death announcements and occasional songs from Bolywood which used to be quite charming to me and now increasingly mimic MTV. They are loud, the dances are more hip hop than Indian and the women are scantily clad. (It's wonderful to see how the "best" of American culture gets around.) So generally, I try to busy myself doing other things around the house. Since the rest of TV on the weekends consists of sporting events I don't care about (with the exception of college basketball, Met baseball and a few championship games), I'm content to let her have her way with the remote. Invariably though, one of the 15 minute long commercial breaks begins to get on my nerves. Then we start with how long we are going to listen to "the same damn songs over and over", countered with " you listen to the same damn baseball over and over" (CW sees all baseball as endless repetition) Ha,ha,ha! If you stand apart from it, it's actually quite funny listening to us trying to defeat the other one's arguments. Eventually, I give up on trying to win her over to my pov. (I'm not content with just being able to see my baseball game. I want her to enjoy it with me!) As I say, eventually I retreat to the kitchen where I am undisputed king and make dinner.
I start with two cloves of garlic and some red pepper flakes.
And yes, I use extra virgin olive oil and I've started the pasta
in boiling salted water before hand. As soon as the garlic releases it's odor,
add the frozen artichoke hearts and a ladle of the pasta cooking water.
After a minute or two, I add frozen peas to the pan and some toasted pine nuts.
The pasta takes 10 minutes according to the package. I've set my timer for 9
minutes, so about 5 minutes have expired at this point.
At 9 minutes, I drain the pasta and dump it into the pan along with some
sliced grape tomatoes. The pan goes on high heat and the pasta is stirred so it
absorbs the flavors in the pan and the remaining moisture. At 10 minutes the
pasta is ready. I turn off the heat and stir in about 3-4 tablespoons of my best
extra virgin olive oil. (It happens I have some leftover ricotta cheese in the
fridge, so I added it (about 2 tablespoons but not necessary to the dish) .CW
doesn't like parsley, but definitely add it if you have.
New grasshoppers to my blog are reminded of the "Your Italian Grandmother" commandment, "Thou shalt not let the pasta wait for the sauce!