Saturday, September 25, 2010

A Simple Summer Supper

It's been a while since I've written. I know. And a lot has changed!

My last post recapped some of my favorite places on a recent trip to California, as I was at the time looking to relocate out there. Since then, an internship I had in a test kitchen in New York ended, and just as it did (with a massive thunderstorm, complete with tornadoes), I got a job offer from an exciting new start-up in New York that will be a go-to food "mega-site." More details to come on that front over the next couple of weeks.

I find it interesting that everything -- internship, job, and who knows what else now -- has seemingly worked out on its own just beautifully. One thing ends and seamlessly transitions to another. I'm a huge believer in whatever happens, happens for a reason, and at the most perfect and elegant time. Like, right now, I'm working on finding and apartment. It's stressful, as you don't see places you like, then you do, and you have to put together the package, and are waiting on others for quotes and references. I'm tensing up just writing about it.

So, needless to say, I haven't been in the kitchen at all recently. However, I did cut myself pretty badly with a super-sharp chefs knife last week. Ok, not cut. Stabbed. Yup. Stuck the fleshy part of my hand between my thumb and forefinger pretty deeply with a 10" knife. I was so used to 8" knives that I spaced that one out. Don't recommend spacing out in a kitchen. Bottom line, a not wielding knives, hot pans, and lots of dishes was needed (and the cut healed perfectly on its own, thank goodness).

So, last night marked the first cooking venture in a while. I had some late-summer market treats that I wanted to use. Fresh baby arugula from Satur Farms on Long Island. This stuff is more tender, and rare I find, than their wild arugula. A small red onion from the greenmarket. Some basil pesto (did you know their formula is nut-free?!) from Bear Pond Farm, in Glastonbury, CT. And the last of the delicious and bright red tomatoes grown in my parents garden in Rhode Island. What was on the menu? Simple: cheese-stuffed spinach tortellini tossed with pesto and Satur Farm's baby arugula, topped with a mixture of garden tomatoes, garlic, and red onions, some toasted pine nuts, and a grating of gruyere.

The recipe itself is simple and can be tweaked however you wish.

6 smaller red tomatoes, sliced or rough chop
1 small onion, finely diced
1 garlic clove, minced
Salt, to taste
Handful of pine nuts, toasted
1/2 package or 1 serving fresh spinach tortellini
Large handful arugula
1 heaping tablespoons pesto
Freshly grated gruyere (I didn't have parmigiano!)

Combine the tomatoes with the onion and garlic in a bowl, season with a pinch of salt, and let sit for an hour to let the flavors meld. NEVER store your tomatoes in the fridge! It kills the flavor.

Bring water to a boil in a large saucepan for the pasta. While the water boils, toast the pine nuts. Add the tortellini to the salted water and cook until they float, or however your package indicates. While the pasta cooks, place pesto in a large bowl. Drain the pasta, saving about 1/4 c pasta water to thin the sauce if you desire. Place drained tortellini in the bowl with the pesto. Add the arugula and toss. The heat of the pasta will slightly wilt the arugula.

Plate the pasta-greens mixture, and top with a heaping serving of the tomato mixture. Garnish with pine nuts and cheese. Eat immediately =)

No comments: