Monday, February 28, 2011

Crisper Primavera

This meal came about when I had no protein in the fridge come dinner time, and less than one serving of all of the following vegetables: snow peas, haricot vert (French green beans), broccoli, and brussels sprouts. All leftovers from stir-fry dinners and side dishes. I also had half a can of crushed tomatoes in the fridge, so I decided to make a version of pasta primavera from my crisper drawer.

I start out sautéing 1 large shallot, diced, in a bit of olive oil. As it starts to soften I add some broccoli florets, as they will take the longest to become tender.
Make sure you have your water boiling for your pasta when you make this, as the sauce does not take much more than 10 minutes to come together.

Next I add 2 finely chopped cloves of garlic, a sprinkling of prosciutto cubetti (because I had some in the deli drawer), and the trimmed haricot vert cut in half.
Once the prosciutto has started to cook and the garlic becomes fragrant, I added a small splash of white wine, and about 1/4 cup of chicken stock.

To those liquids I added about 1/2 cup of diced tomatoes from a can (classic Primavera would have fresh tomato, but as it is February, canned will have to suffice) and turned the temperature to medium high to reduce. I also threw in about a teaspoon of chopped fresh thyme and seasoned the sauce with a bit of salt. Taste first as the prosciutto will have given off a bit of its salty flavor.

The last vegetables I added were some separated brussels sprout leaves and some halved snow peas, as they are both quite delicate. You could add a teaspoon of mascarpone cheese at this point, or a splash of cream would work, or even a pat of butter, just to make the sauce a bit decadent, but that is not typical in a Primavera dish.
This is the point when you can decide if your sauce should be light and simple or heavier and rich.
The dish would be tasty either way, but I kept it light.

I tossed in the pasta with whatever little bit of starchy cooking liquids came with them, and allowed the flavors to combine for another minute or so in the pan.

This was a surprisingly successful meal considering it was made entirely of scraps of other meals.
Necessity is the mother of invention yet again.

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