Thursday, March 15, 2012

"garlicky" pasta with asparagus..

I put this disclaimer - I am NOT a chef. I am not even a cook. Mister usually does most of the cooking around here. I am the baker, that's where my culinary expertise falls. But I wanted to share with you all, one of my most yummiest, favorite dinners of all time.

Back story - I used to waitress at Eastside Grill in Northampton, MA (one of my favorite cities of all time to live) When I lived there both mister and I were vegetarian. I caught a lot of sh$& for not eating meat and not being part of each nights food tastings. But when ever they would roll out their Garlicky Pasta with Asparagus -  watch out, I was first in line. 

I had brought home some for mister to try one night and he pretty much figured out the recipe and then we tweaked it a bit.

One major tweak is that I no longer make it with garlic. One of our times making it, I'm not sure exactly what happened. Too much garlic? Not sure, but I got pretty ill after eating it. I was devastated because I thought my favorite dinner was now gone and ruined forever.  Until mister changed it up and made it with onions instead of garlic.

It's a pretty simple recipe:

Olive Oil
1 onion (diced, chopped)
3 plum tomatoes (diced, chopped)
1 bunch asparagus
Pasta noodles- your choice, I usually use Cora brand, penne
Parm cheese
Sea salt and pepper

In a pan over medium heat; heat olive oil, butter and onions until the chopped/diced onions go clear. I was told AFTER cooking tonight that I could have put more oil in. But oh well. I'm learning! So be generous with the butter and oil.

Next step: Add the tomatoes and turn down the heat to about a 4. Then cook until they become "mushy" That was mister's term, "mushy  - you can see the difference". So this was me cooking...

About this time start your water boiling for your pasta

Once your tomatoes are the proper mushiness.. (roughly 10 minutes or so)

Next Step: Add the asparagus and cover with a lid.. Check on it every 5 minutes until asparagus is cooked. It took about 10-15 minutes.

At this point, add sea salt and pepper. Then start adding in the pasta. It's a little tricky because there is now so much food going into a not so big pan! I added it in large ladles and fully mixed. I was told (of course again AFTER) that he usually adds a bit more butter and splash of oil at this point as well to cover the pasta. You can also add some more salt and pepper to taste. We used to add the shredded parm cheese and mix it  into the pan- it melts it a little bit, but is pretty messy and its not fun trying to mix so much in a pan. I lost an asparagus to the floor in my adventures today.

So now, we add the parm after and when it's in our bowls..

So, so yummy! You can of course try it with garlic (as it was originally intended) or try our more mild, sweet version. Like I said, it's a pretty basic dinner but just so good! Again, I am not a cook. I actually don't like cooking. My anal brain gets very flustered when people tell me things like - just add a bit of this or that. Or cook til mushy. haha I like things to be very precise. Add 1TBS of this, then cook for 5 minutes. Apparently cooking is not anything like baking. That is probably why I have always loved baking, because it's more of a science and you use measurements not just what ever you are feeling that moment!

Sorry for the not so great pictures. I wanted to give you visuals as I went, I realize they aren't beautiful food shots, but I was out of my element making this dinner while mister was working out. He burned 840 calories in an hour on the elliptical. How is that even possible?! I usually don't even eat 840 calories a day!

It has to be said, yes woo hoo it's friday tomorrow. I can not wait for the weekend to get here. It's supposed to be in the 70's. I think that means, cleaning the front gardens and getting them ready for planting. I didn't have my blag last year - so you aren't familiar with our gardens. Our side garden is all herbs. We laid down old brick pavers and created little wooden, inset boxes for all our herbs. I love it over there. It's so beautiful. Then our front yard - I don't think words can quite describe it's stunning. 

This year we are actually going to be moving a lot of the flowers and incorporating veggies into our front yard as well. This way the side yard is solely dedicated to herbs - front will be veggies and flowers. I can not wait. So if you like gardens - you will be in store for some truly amazing photos this year to come..