Whole Wheat Organic Orzo Pasta
Farmer's Market or Garden Spring Vegetables, blanched or lightly cooked
Cold Pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Sea Salt & Pepper
Grated Sharp Cheese such as Asiago or Parmesan
I love fresh vegetables & I love to cook local foods. We just relocated to the East Bay Area in California, near Oakland, Berkeley and SF. We are blessed to be 15 minutes from the Brentwood farmer's market with bounty from lots of small local farms. The season is underway! What a perfect way to try & acclimate to a new region, eating local foods from your local farms!
We've joined the Knoll Organics CSA & are enjoying some new foods in our weekly share such as baby fava beans in the pod, cardoons, wild radish rapini, wild mustard rapini & totally awesome spinach & nettles. We also enjoy supplementing our CSA share with local produce from our neighboring farmer's market, including fruits, honey & olive oil.
We're in luck, because just as we got our kitchen fully functional spring has sprung here in the East Bay Area & we are rewarded for our hard work by eating some of our favorite spring foods: asparagus, snap peas, fava beans, spinach & strawberries. (Not to mention cardoons, artichokes, wild radish rapini, baby fava beans, fresh nettles among the many delights in our weekly vegetable intake!)
Our most recent visit to the farmer's market in Brentwood, California, inspired me to create this local version of a pasta primavera, which after all, is a dish where you get to celebrate the vegetable stars of springtime! I used the pasta in this recipe as a way to blend the flavors of the vegetables, to hold them together. By eating a small amount of pasta in this way, the vegetables are the main focus of the meal. This dish of vegetables with a bit of pasta will really shine & deeply satisfy your hunger for nourishment.
I used the following spring veggies: spinach, fava beans, thai basil, asparagus & snap peas.
I did add a hothouse (though local) tomato into the saute pan with the spinach. You could just as easily have used some canned chopped tomato. I also used some Greek Haloumi grilling cheese which you can see in the photo along with cold pressed local olive oil, sea salt & pepper. Any good eating cheese can be used to make this meal a bit more filling when you use a small amount of pasta as I did with this dish.
Put a pot of water up to boil & add some salt when it comes to a boil. Then add your pasta & cook until al dente. While the pasta is cooking, prep your veggies. De-string snap peas, wash spinach well, prepare the fava beans by first taking them out of the pod.
Then cook favas in just a bit of water for 2 minutes. When cool enough to handle, slip them out of their skins & set aside.
Saute the spinach until just wilted in a bit of olive oil. Steam the green veggies until crisp tender & then drop them into a bowl of ice water to stop it from cooking. Drain when heat is off the vegetables & put aside in a strainer to drain.
Grill or brown the slices of Haloumi Cheese in a bit of butter & olive oil.
When your pasta is cooked al dente, drain it & put the veggies in a serving bowl or individual plates. Then mix the pasta with the favas, the spinach, the tomato & cheese & the grilled Haloumi cheese & splash generously with good quality extra virgin cold pressed olive oil. You can add in the asparagus & peas or set them aside on the plate, as I did.
Then assemble, season with salt & pepper & perhaps some grated cheese to taste. Enjoy the flavor of springtime wearing her triumphant greens! A meal which is a triumph over winter! Although, here on the left coast, where we are now living, green is the color of winter hills! I'll figure it out!
This meal was accompanied, as you can see in the photo above by a lovely local red leaf lettuce salad of local strawberries & roasted pumpkin seeds with a splash of olive oil, local orange, lemon & thai basil. Yum! And a cool glass of fresh nettles tea. You can click on the link above to Knoll Organics Farm.
Jane Sherry, one of the Founders of Satya Center is a Reiki practitioner/teacher, spiritual counselor, creator of healing art talismans, healing gardens & loves to cook! She has a background in the visual arts before moving into the healing arts and has been a longtime lover of herbs & spices & cooking. She newly resides in the East Bay Area of Northern Calirnia right next door to farm country an hour east of SF, Oakland & Berkeley. She works the Satya Center healing practice with co-founder and husband, Curtis Lang and co-operates the Satya Center Crystal Gallery and web portal. Plans for new gardens are germinating fast here in the California sunshine, well watered by lots of drought breaking winter rains. You will always find crystals in among the herbs, flowers & vegetable gardens!