Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Strozzapreti pasta with Kale and Sundried Tomato

I was inspired by a recipe that I received from April Ashcroft of the Vegetarian Society of Utah this past Saturday that suggested sauteeing greens with sundried tomatoes and serving with pasta. (They adapted the recipe from Andrew Weil's 8 Weeks to Optimum Health book.) Based on that recipe, I made a few changes and came up with what proved to be a tasty dish.

I used strozzapreti pasta from the same Montebello Monastery in Marche, Italy that makes the "conchiglie" pasta I so love. It comes from the Romagna area of Italy and is twisted like a rolled towel, holding sauces and ingredients better than uniform and smooth spaghetti. I started by dicing a yellow onion into fairly small pieces, less than half-inch squares. I sauteed the onion in a large saute pan till clear, maybe 5-6 minutes. In the meantime, I washed lacinato kale and, leaving the middle ribs behind, roughly shredded off pieces, maybe 1" in square. I also had been soaking sundried tomatoes in warm water.

When the onion was ready, I added the kale. I drained the tomato and cut into thin slices, and added those slices to the pan. I pressed three small cloves (not whole bulbs!) of garlic into the pan, and added a little salt and freshly ground black pepper. I would have added some capers, but am currently out. I stirred and cooked for just a few minutes, making sure the kale wilted a bit.

The pasta was on its 8-or-so-minute boil; I drained the al dente pasta then mixed the contents of the saute pan into the drained pasta. I mixed in some Eat in the Raw's Parma! vegan "Parmesan cheese" and served. I had considered quickly toasting some pine nuts and tossing them in, but we were hungry so I just got my photograph and we ate. We really enjoyed the pasta!

I'm glad to have discovered strozzapreti pasta. I'll experiment with some pesto or tomato sauces in the near future.

I received sad news today about death this past Sunday of a friend of mine, Anne Weaver. She and her husband of 63 years founded the nearby Very Vegetarian Society of Winston-Salem in 1990. They have organized monthly events and published a quarterly newsletter, influencing many people especially about the health aspects of a plant-based diet. They never missed the annual Vegetarian Summerfest conference! Anne was 85 years young. My wife and I are planning on attending the funeral on Friday and will probably eat out, maybe at California Fresh Buffet (wide selection, clearly marked and good choices for vegans, very clean, and, remarkably, run with nearly 100% volunteers and with all profits going to charities).

Tomorrow I have a 6:30p meeting, so may have a quick very early dinner or a late one; Saturday we are invited to some friends' home. So my cooking will be a little slow in the coming few days.


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