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Arugula, Gorgonzola, and caper pasta

After our very wet spring, the weather is starting to dry and heat up. The arugula in the garden started bolting, so I needed to figure out what to do with it right away. I decided on a simple pasta recipe that combined some things I already had on hand.

I used all my bolting arugula–five small┬áplants. They didn’t provide a huge amount of leaves, but it was enough.

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For the sauce, I very loosely followed this recipe that I found via a Google search.

I used veggie penne because that’s what I had available (I like to sneak in extra vegetables when I can). For the sauce, I used a bit of milk (measuring is not really my thing) and 2 or 3 ounces of Gorgonzola, stirred until the cheese was pretty much melted, then added some capers, the pasta, and the arugula and stirred until the pasta was coated and the arugula was melted. Super easy. I think this might have been even better with mushrooms, though, so I’ll try that next time.
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After a slow start to the garden, I am thrilled to have finally had my first meal this year with produce I grew myself!

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Jared’s bread

I haven’t been doing much, since I have a dissertation deadline coming up. However, Jared has been baking bread lately, and it is both beautiful and delicious. This is his multigrain bread, made with oats, wheat germ, whole-wheat flour, and rye.

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In the lower left corner you can see a bit of his Irish soda bread, which he served with fantastic pasta made with a variety of vegetables from this week’s CSA share.

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Not only is his bread amazing, but the house smells wonderful when it is baking. Is there anything better than freshly-baked bread?

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Tomato sauce 2.0 (with food mill)

We’ve been getting lots of tomatoes from the CSA, so I’ve been making sauce every week. Wanting to save some time and make a more authentic Italian pasta sauce, I bought a food mill. I chose an inexpensive model with three disks since it seemed the most versatile and had good reviews. I used the same recipe as last time, except I didn’t blanch and peel the tomatoes; I just cored and chopped them, then tossed them in. For my second batch I didn’t even bother chopping the tomatoes first. I also added a pinch of sugar.

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I cooked them for about 35 minutes on medium-high, then passed them through the food mill to remove the skins. I used the coarsest of the disks since I wanted the sauce to be a bit chunky and I don’t mind seeds in my sauce. The result was lovely–I liked the consistency better than my previous version with the immersion blender, and passing the sauce through the food mill was strangely satisfying. I have to admit that I was a bit grossed out by the slimy tomato skins and remnants when I cleaned off the food mill, but I am a bit strange when it comes to food scraps. I thought the tomatoes might stain the white plastic of the food mill but it came out of the dishwasher looking like new.

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The result was quite good, though I can’t help but feel there is still just a little something lacking. Maybe more garlic next time?

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Pasta with tomato sauce

I tried yesterday’s tomato sauce with some whole wheat pasta. The orangish color of the sauce is a bit misleading–it has sort of a macaroni-and-cheese look. The sauce was pretty good, but it has a slightly sour aftertaste. Next time I’ll add a pinch of sugar and a bit more olive oil. I’ll also use only red tomatoes for a better color. It is amazing how different homemade tomato sauce tastes from the stuff at the grocery store. I love the lightness, freshness, and simplicity of the flavor.

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I served it with chard from the CSA sauteed in olive oil with a bit of garlic.

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Veggie pasta and beets

I haven’t posted about our CSA shares in a while, but we are still getting lots of vegetables. We are falling behind a bit behind, so after today’s pickup we tried to incorporate as many leftover veggies as possible into the meal. I made some tricolor penne and added chopped green and yellow beans to the boiling water after a minute or two. Meanwhile I sauteed garlic, onions, sliced mushrooms, and chard in olive oil. When the pasta and beans were finished, I drained them and added them to the sauteed vegetables along with some goat cheese and a bit of reserved pasta water. The result was pretty good, though I think it would have been better without the beans–I like them, but their texture just isn’t quite right with pasta. Jared grilled the beets and they came out nicely–soft and juicy.

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Today’s meal used about 1/3 of our beans, all of our remaining chard, some of our huge supply of onions and garlic, our last beet, and also two ears of corn. (I did not photograph the corn because I hate it.)

This was a very quick way to use up a few of our surplus vegetables. However, we still have lots of beans, bell peppers, potatoes, corn, and okra–I think we’ll have to get more creative.