You’ve probably noticed that I’m lazy and never go to the grocery store so most of my dinners are pantry items, which is why our Edible Pantries page is so important in figuring out how to be a spontaneous cook. And if you do a quick search for “feta” you will notice the redic amount of recipes that contain this wonder cheese. And you know what, Tim, I’m not going to finish “redic.” I think it serves its purpose as an abbreviated word. (Background – one time Tim and I met for lunch and I said “redic” and then he said “ulous” and I laughed really hard and then got pisted.)
Regardless, through this pantry dinner night, I found a new way to work with feta – melted in a pasta sauce. Oh, and you’ll probably think that I’m a liar when I start naming all of these fresh veggies and herbs that I used in this recipe after I declared my non-store going ways, but actually, all of these fresh goodies were presented to me by Dad Gansie. He’s great. When 80 and I were driving back from NYC a few weeks back it only made sense to stop by Cherry Hill on the way to DC. And as Dad Gansies go, he used his Sunday to stop by the food store (Produce Junction, I think it’s called) and whatever he bought himself, he bought me one too.
So with all of this fresh food, plus the shit from the pantry, I present to you:
Feta and Parsley Sauce with Whole Wheat Angel Hair
Sautee mushrooms in butter and extra virgin over low heat, until done to your likeness. Set aside and keep warm (I do this by putting it in a covered tupperwear container.) With the same pan, add more extra virgin and on high heat add asparagus spears that have been cut into fourths. After the spears have been tossed around a bit, place a lid on and “steam” them for a few minutes until bright green. Set aside with mushrooms.
Okay, and if you can multi-task in the kitchen, which believe me, takes YEARS to figure out, do this while the veggies are cooking: In a blender, puree a handful of parsley, 2 garlic cloves, red pepper flakes, lemon zest, juice from half a lemon, 3 plastic containers of half and half, salt,pepper and stream in extra virgin. But, before the blending occurs, mash feta with just a touch of extra virgin so it’s a bit softer, then add to the blender. The texture of the sauce will be a bit thick, but wait – it’ll be okay. Trust me.
So while you’re blending, you’re also boiling water for the pasta, as well as dicing up some roasted red pepper.
When the pasta is boiling, add the sauce mixture onto that same pan on very low heat. Introduce the veggies in there to warm them back up and then take not even a tablespoon of the pasta cooking water and add it to the blender. Just swish the water around for a sec to help get the rest of the sauce out of the blender and then pour it into the pan. This will thin out the sauce a bit and um, I think the starch from the pasta does something too. I’ll have to watch another Molto Mario to find out why he does this, but I know he adds the pasta cooking water to all of his sauces.
When the pasta is ready, add that to the pan as well, toss everything around and then serve. Crumble extra feta on top.
Photos: One and Three, 80P; Two, gansie