golden, again

The weekend wasn’t golden in the sense Joanna described in her last post but nabbing my first garden sun-gold-en tomatoes at the 61st street market on Saturday made the weekend almost as sweet. As far as I’m concerned, tomato season is the waiting room to heaven and I’ve been feeling a little deprived this year. The little tomato plant I was trying to raise on my front balcony fell victim to a bad case of third year neglect (my laundry basket and gmail inbox have met the same fate- it’s a rampant disease). Luckily Al the fruit man had a bounty of little yellow tomatoes at his stand this week. I ate half the basket on my walk home as my brunch but I managed to save half for a late-summer pasta invention I had been scheming all week.

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The other haul of the market day was a new-to-me kind of green called spigarello. My usual kale supplier was carrying this novel stuff which he described as a mild-flavored, leafy relative of broccoli. I’ve never met a brassica that I didn’t like and maybe it’s just that my palate is growing a little weary of kale and needing variety (though I doubt it), but one taste made me a spigarello believer. Here’s hoping that it makes another appearance at market next week.

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I find myself turning to roasting as a preferred technique more and more especially when it yields they kind of tastiness these peppers have going on. I used to always turn to jarred roasted peppers and still do when short on time but I’m amazed at how low-effort and high-yield it is to roast them fresh. Their silky softness perfectly compliments the crunch of the greens.

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As always, this recipe is ripe for modification. I have about 6 beloved late-summer, high-tomato-season pasta recipes and tried-and-true as they are, I never make them exactly the same twice in a row. I say use what’s fresh and available. Bon appetite!

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2/3 pound linguine

1 pint cherry, grape, or sungold tomatoes

2 red bell peppers

1 medium brunch of greens (spigarello, kale, chard, spinach, etc), ribs removed and roughly chopped

1/2 c goat cheese crumbles

3 large cloves garlic, minced or crushed

1 T olive oil

1/4 c dry white wine

Salt and pepper

First, roast the peppers. Heat the oven to 375, line a baking sheet with foil and wash the peppers. Roast for 45-60 minutes, turning occasionally. They’re done when completely soft and beginning to char in spots. Place in a clean paper bag and fold over the top- this will help sweat off the skin and make for easier peeling. When cool enough to handle, peel off the skins with you hands. It’s no time to be a perfectionist, just get most of the skin. Remove the ribs and seeds and slice into thin strips.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pot of salted water until al dente. When you drain, reserve 1 c of the cooking water.

Heat the oil in a large skillet. Cook the garlic until fragrant, 1-2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook for a few moments until they start to release their juices. Add the greens and cook just until they begin to wilt. Add the peppers and then the wine, letting it cook down slightly. Salt and pepper to taste and stir in about 1/2 the cheese so it will melt. When the pasta is done, toss it with the veggies in a skillet or a large bowel. Add some of the pasta water and continue to add until the pseudo-sauce formed by the cheese and wine are your preferred thickness. Top with remaining cheese and serve warm.

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