No, this is not going to be about the TV show which, interestingly enough, was one of my parents' favorites and today is actually a Thursday, but I am going for it. My family's home here is on a side road that winds along a bluff and is the only house on the road lived in all year long. Most of the work I have had to do for Mom has occurred during the off season and so most of the homes are dark and empty until the summer season hits.
As time goes on, I am making some nice friends here and I am always excited to see them when I come out. My Shelter Island BF's live across the street and ride the train and ferry in every Friday night. I look across the street through the darkness every Friday until yippee...Friday Night Lights are on and they have arrived. They are great...total foodies, collectors, sailors, movie buffs, naturalists...you name it. They can tell you every native plant on this island and are helping protect and resow them. Both are wonderful cooks and we swap recipes and food foraging stories. Such fun. Plus, they let me use their internet connection which I used to have to go local fishermen's bar to get. Sure saves a lot of explaining my whereabouts to Mom and dodges the "Penny, if you aren't home in a hour, I am calling the police." Once a mom...
Their house is fabulous and I wanted you to see the wall in their kitchen. Totally amazing and not just for show...
This is a hard working kitchen. They cook all the meals for the coming week plus the weekend fun food and then take their feasts back on the train. Brilliant organization. I can only drool over the wonderful dishes they make with all these treasures. Last conversation we had was purely pesto and how many wonderful kinds there are and how many mouth-watering ways to eat this rich and flavorful spread. Here is a recipe I am sharing with them this weekend.
Spring Asparagus and Spinach Pesto and Pasta
Fresh asparagus, 1 bunch, cleaned and sliced into 1 inch piecesFresh spinach (I used Japanese spinach), 3 handfuls
Fresh garlic, 2 large cloves, peeled
1 cup freshly grated Reggiano Parmesan cheese
1 cup pine nuts, toasted (you can substitute 1 cup almonds, toasted)
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
¼-1/2 teaspoon sea salt
12 ounces pasta of choice (I use fettuccine or angel hair)
Bring large pot of water to a rolling boil and drop in asparagus pieces. Blanch for 2-3 minutes and then plunge into ice water to stop cooking. Drain well, blotting with paper towels if necessary. Place in food processor or blender. Add spinach, garlic, Parmesan and ¾ cup pine nuts or almonds. Puree and then add in ¼ cup olive oil. Add lemon juice and salt and taste to adjust seasonings. This takes a mere 5-6 minutes to make, perfect for a busy night!
Prepare pasta according to package directions, cooking until al dente. Drain. Toss with a generous amount of the asparagus-spinach puree.
To serve: Place portion on plate and then top with extra toasted pine nuts (you will have ¼ cup leftover for this), extra freshly grated Parmesan and an optional splash of olive oil. Serves 3-4.
This is also great as a dip, spread on crackers, topping for eggs, or anywhere you would love a splash of pesto!