Take seven! (Herbs…and make a tasty pasta dish.)

In Recipies on August 6, 2013 at 2:09 pm

I’m going to let my readers come up for air. I used myself as a ‘misery barometer’ and decided it was time to take a break from articles about the state’s Praetorians killing 95 year-old men and 2 week-old fawns.

Long time readers already know that I fancy herbs. I grow pounds of them each year. My herb crop is carefully tended, painstakingly harvested, meticulously cleaned, and thoroughly dried for my kitchen and to give as gifts to people I know.

About 80% of my herbs are grown in large pots on my patio deck. The rest are planted among my cucumbers, tomatoes, eggplants, and other veggies and flowers.

My morning routine involves an hour of meditation. If the weather is suitable (and it is most summers), I drag my cushion to the deck. The slightest breeze raises the aromatic oils of my basil, rosemary, oregano, mint, and thyme…creating all-natural aromatherapy. I finish the session with a bit of ‘working kin hin’, or ‘walking meditation’.

Although I have adequate lengths of garden hose, I carry water to my row crops in large buckets. It’s meditation at its best to mindfully water each growing plant, one at a time. I (with some regret) pick pests off of plants as I work, since I use no pesticides in my garden. I (with much thanks) remove any ripe fruits and veggies at the same time. My morning repast of brown rice and homemade kim chee sustains me as I work.

This year, as in all years, my herbs are producing useable growth faster than my dehydrator can process it. Consequently, I’m always on the lookout for recipes that make use of quantities of fresh herbs.

I found one written by Mel Bartholomew, the Square Foot Gardener. I adapted it to meet my needs and you can adapt it to yours.

Let’s go!

You’ll need (use all FRESH herbs, not dried):

1 stick salted butter

3 large cloves garlic, minced

½ tsp Aleppo pepper (or any red pepper flakes)

½ C (packed) basil leaves, minced

¼ C (packed) chives, chopped

½ tsp fennel seed, cracked

1 TBS (packed) oregano, chopped

1 TBS (loose packed) rosemary, chopped

1 TBS (loose packed) tarragon, chopped

2 tsp thyme leaves

salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 lb dry farfalle (bow tie) pasta

3oz goat cheese crumbles (optional)

2 stems curly-leaf kale, washed

1-2oz pecorino Romano, grated

 Add 1 TBS of kosher salt to 5 qts water in a large pot. Heat to a gentle boil. Tear the kale into bite-size pieces, removing the leaves entirely from the stems. Toss the kale into the boiling water for 3 minutes. Remove the kale to a colander by using a slotted spoon. You will re-use the kale water (and its nutrients) to cook the pasta. Run the kale under cold tap water and then squeeze as much water from it as possible, forming the kale into a compact ball. Use a sharp knife to chop the kale ball.

Cook the pasta in the kale water until firm, about 12-14 minutes.

While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter in a shallow skillet over medium-low heat. Stir in all of the herbs, the garlic, the pepper flakes, and the fennel seed. Cook gently for about 2-3 minutes. Toss in the goat cheese crumbles, if used.

Drain the pasta and rinse it well. Return it to its pot and toss with the chopped kale. Gently fold in the herb/cheese mixture. Serve in large bowls or on large plates. Generously sprinkle the pasta dish with grated Romano. Serve with a garden salad, dressed with a good-quality olive oil…and a bottle of crisp, white wine.


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