April 21, 2008

jalapeno primavera ?

I think I may have accidentally created a new (and improved) version of Pasta Primavera. You know the one that's often served up in poor excuses for Italian restaurants, with all kinds of vegetables, even ones not even close to being in season in Spring?

Well, I had nothing prepared for dinner and no desire to go to the store. It was a lazy Sunday (except that we went on a 35 mile bike ride with really fast boys from eastside cycles) and all I had the energy to do was grab what I saw in the fridge and make something up. So that's what I did.

[By the way, I highly recommend doing this once in a while, not only as a way to clean out your refrigerator, but also to get your creative juices flowing. I am as gulity as anyone of clinging to my cooking magazines, my cookbooks and my tried and true recipes as if without them, I would be nobody. Well, I would at least not know how to cook. But that's not true, I am learning. Sometimes you just have to put down the cookbook and walk away. And then see what happens]...

So I took out some little spring onions, some spinach, a bunch of baby arugula, some snow peas, and a jar half-full of capers. Then I grabbed a lemon and a couple of roma tomatoes (which I usually don't have this time of year but there they were) and a box of linguine. Oh - and a random jalapeno pepper.

I first made a 'gremolata' of capers, arugula (because I didn't have any parsely) and grated lemon zest and mixed it with olive oil, then set it aside.

Then I sauteed the onion and some garlic in olive oil, then added the diced jalapeno pepper. Now here's where it gets wacky. I usually don't mix that kind of thing with my pasta sauces, but for some reason it sounded good. See? This is what I mean by getting the creative juices flowing. Before I started this cooking and blogging thing, I never would have had the confidence to put a jalapano pepper in a pasta dish and there I was--living on the edge.

When they were softened, I added the diced tomatoes to my pepper and onion mixture, boiled my salted water, added the pasta and reserved a cup of the cooking water. After draining the pasta, I added the onions and peppers, then the water and the spinach which wilted from the steam, and a few glugs of olive oil and fresh grated parmesan cheese. It was starting to come together. Although I thought, "This may be weird," I was excited at the prospect of a new Pasta Primavera, invented by moi.

And when I tossed it into a bowl and topped it with the gremolata and another glug of olive oil, it looked downright delicious. And, you know what? It was! We loved it. Here's to mixing things up in the kitchen. Go ahead. Give yourself permission. You might be pleasantly surprised.


  1. My mother can always whip up a great meal with whatever she has on hand. I have not yet mastered that skill. Though I was pressed for time the other day and did very quickly prepare some tasty vegetarian fajitas.

    But now that I'm working in an office again, I need to keep my refrigerator and pantry better stocked.

  2. I've been doing that lately. I think partly out of a need to make sure no food goes to waste (or lurks too long in a cupboard)

    Good for you

  3. That looks fabulous, Joy. I think you're on to something!!

  4. a melange of beautiful flavors...

    nice job!