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Monday, September 12, 2011

Pappardelle with Vegetables, Basil, and Asiago

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The most meaningful gifts are the ones that prove just how well people know you. A lot of my birthday gifts from friends and family this year demonstrated this, including my friend Stephanie's! She arrived at my birthday party with a bag full of local food: fresh figs, treats from Kakao (I have a new obsession!), cheese, and more. Also included in the bag was a package of fresh black pepper pappardelle.

I have yet to make my own fresh pasta (despite having a pasta maker for over one year. Oops!), but the few times I've ordered homemade pasta in restaurants I've noticed a huge difference in the flavor and quality, so I was excited to use some in my own kitchen!

A search online led me to a Food Network recipe that I used as my base for this dish, putting my own touch on it as I read Megan recently did as well. Though I'm sure the recipe is good as stated, I wanted to bulk it up with additional vegetables and added zucchini, okra, and spinach to the corn and tomatoes that were called for. This dish screams "summer produce" and I realize we're now nearly halfway through September, but hopefully you can adapt according to what you have available.

I made this after a nearly two week cooking hiatus (thanks to traveling and lots of birthday celebrations!), making it taste all the better! The black pepper pasta gave this dish an extra punch, but even if you find regular 'ol pappardelle you won't be disappointed. Even after eating huge bowls of this we weren't feeling weighed down--the bonus of bulking up your pasta with vegetables instead of cheese! Don't omit the fresh basil-it added just the bite we were looking for!

Thanks Steph for my wonderful gift; we toasted to you over dinner that night! :)

One Year Ago: Blushing POM Holiday Cheesecake
Two Years Ago: Chocolate Chip Oreo Cookies

Pappardelle with Vegetables, Basil, and Asiago
adapted from Food Network
*serves 4

-1 tbsp olive oil
-3/4 cup corn
-1 zucchini, sliced in half moons
-1/2 cup okra, sliced
-3 small tomatoes, seeded and coarsely chopped
-4 cups fresh spinach
-freshly ground pepper
-1/2 cup white wine
-1/2 cup broth (I used beef because it was all I had on hand)
-12 oz pappardelle pasta
-1/3 cup freshly grated asiago, plus more for topping
-torn basil, for topping

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the pasta and cook according to directions.
2. While water is boiling and pasta is cooking, heat olive oil over medium heat in a separate skillet. Add corn and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3-4 minutes.
3. Add zucchini and okra and continue to cook until zucchini is tender. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Add white wine and bring to a simmer. Stir in tomatoes, spinach, and broth and cook until spinach is wilted.
5. Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water. Toss pasta with vegetable mixture. Stir in asiago and basil. Add a little bit of reserved pasta water if too dry (I didn't need to). Top with additional cheese if desired.

This post is linked to Eat at Home.