My life is a little nuts right now. It’s all good, and I’m very lucky, but things are a little crazy. I have my husband, my family, and my friends with whom I want to spend time. I have my job, my food blog, and my volunteer work with puppy rescue. I have many wonderful trips to look forward to this summer including a wedding in Vermont, a clambake in Massachusetts, and girl’s wine weekend in Walla Walla. I have my meager attempts to get some sort of exercise to balance out said food blog and wine trips, not to mention my book club, my horseback riding, and my laundry. I have lots and lots of laundry lately it seems.
So it will come as no surprise that what seemed like the most logical decision, the most sensible way to go, was to get a puppy. In all honesty, I’m blaming this one squarely on Matt. He found a darling Neapolitan Mastiff puppy in Tacoma on Wednesday, emailed me in Boulder about it on Wednesday night, and by Thursday at noon she was happily chewing on Duke’s ear and quickly climbing the ladder to Number One Cute Pup In Town if you ask any non-biased person. To be fair, I didn’t exactly kick her out of bed for eating crackers either.
So this Monday night when I realized this was my only night off this week, and my fridge was exploding with goodies from our Hand Farmed Organics CSA and another box was arriving tomorrow [insert panic and self loathing at thought of throwing away organic vegetables HERE], I figured I’d better get cooking. A little quiet time in the kitchen always calms my nerves, and the self-righteousness that comes with making a delicious meal out of what’s in your fridge is hard to beat.
We try to do Meat Free Mondays, but honestly we usually don’t. Add that to the list of things that have gone to the wayside in our busyness. But tonight I succeeded, creating a sort of Vegetarian Carbonara and triumphantly using all the chard, spinach, and radishes up. It was surprisingly delicious, light and yet satisfying, and on the table in less than 30 minutes. A perfect meal when all you really want to do is play with the new puppy, and ignore the piles laundry building up in your temporarily empty guest room.
Vegetarian Carbonara with Summer Greens
Carbonara is typically made with pancetta or bacon, but I didn’t have any and thought a vegetarian twist on the Italian classic might work. The radishes give it some nice bulk, and when the beaten egg is slowly added as you vigorously toss the pasta you get a rich sauce you’d swear had heavy cream in it.
1 lb pasta, whatever is in the cupboard
3 TB Olive Oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 leek, white part only, thinly sliced
1 bundle of radishes, about 6, washed and thinly sliced with a mandolin
1 bunch chard, washed and coarsely chopped
1 bag spinach, washed
1/2 cup chives, thinly sliced (this seems like a lot, but is delicious and gives it a nice kick)
3 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup good parmesan cheese grated, plus more to taste
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to directions. Drain and set aside.
- Meanwhile, in a large non-stick pan over medium-low heat, cook the garlic in the olive oil until just beginning to turn golden, 2-3 minutes.
- Increase heat to medium, add the radishes and the leeks, and cook until turning translucent, about 5 minutes, stirring regularly.
- Add the chard and spinach, returning heat to low, and cook until wilted and radishes and leeks fully cooked, another 5 minutes.
- To assemble take the warm pasta (you don’t want it too hot or the egg will scramble), and vigorously tossing with tongs slowly add the beaten egg, until it creates a rich coating.
- Add the chard/spinach mixture, chives, and the parmesan and continue tossing vigorously until all nicely mixed and coated.
- Serve with additional parmesan to taste and truffle salt.