Food Buzz Badge

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Slouching Toward Winter

It has been a long week here, I'm telling you.

It began with not feeling great and hit an apex midweek when one of the actors in my play called me at 10:30 at night to say that he hadn't realized the show performed on Saturday nights and he had another gig on Saturdays.  Really?  Really?  I don't think it takes being a theatre person to know that in theatres all around the country--nay, all around the world--shows perform on Saturday nights.  But okay.

It didn't help that this was the most difficult role to recast.

Then, as I was leaving my office for a meeting on Thursday afternoon, my car wouldn't start and it had to be towed off to the shop when it became clear that it was not just a dead battery.

I'm pleased to say that things started looking up yesterday.  I'm feeling better, we found a new actor and it turns out that my car battery was cracked and needed to be replaced--sure, not great, but better than the dead alternator that all the lawyers in my office predicted it was.  (As an aside, a clump of lawyers standing in a parking lot in the middle of the afternoon prognosticating on what is wrong with a car while said car is being towed makes for great comedy.)

I even had last night off and practically didn't know what to do with myself.  Who am I kidding?  I was going to cook.

It is, amazingly enough, still fall in Alaska.  Parts of Anchorage in the upper elevations have had a dusting of snow, as has one of the suburbs.  At my house, there's been a hard frost in the morning for a couple of weeks now, but no actual snow. 

I'm calling this recipe "Yearning for Summer" pasta because it has the flavors of summer but doesn't rely on ingredients only available in summer.  If you still have access to fresh corn, knock yourself out and use that.

Yearning for Summer Pasta with Herbs and Ricotta
Adapted from Bon Appetit Magazine, June 2008

1 large head of garlic, with the top 1/2 inch removed
4 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 10 oz. bag of frozen corn, thawed
4 tsp. grated lemon or lime zest
6 tbsp. fresh lemon or lime juice
12 oz. dried capellini (angel hair) pasta
1 large leek, white and pale green parts only, chopped
4 cups mixed greens (arugula, radicchio, baby spinach)
1 cup fresh part-skim ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1 cup finely chopped mixed herbs (basil, chives, parsley--use whatever is in your refrigerator)
Kosher salt and freshly-ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Take a large piece of aluminum foil and place the garlic in the middle.  Drizzle with two tablespoons of the olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Wrap the bulb in the foil and place in the center of the oven.

While the garlic is cooking, spread the frozen corn on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with a nonstick spray.  Set a large pot of salted water on to boil.

After the garlic has been cooking for fifteen minutes, place the baking sheet with the corn in the oven.  Bake for another fifteen minutes, then sprinkle the leeks over the corn and return to the oven for another ten minutes.

Even frozen corn tastes so much better after it's been roasted.
Remove the baking sheet from the oven.  The garlic should be soft at this point, and the corn and leeks should be lightly roasted.  Carefully (it will be hot!) squeeze the garlic out of its husks and add to a medium bowl.  Mash the garlic a bit, then add the remaining two tablespoons of olive oil, plus the zest and juice.  Stir the mixture--it will be thick.

This is so good that you might need to have a bite or two before adding it to the pasta. 
Just to test it, you know.
Cook the pasta until al dente and drain, reserving a cup of the cooking water in case it's needed to thin the sauce.  Return the pasta to the pot it was cooked in and add the greens, parmesan and garlic sauce.  Toss to coat the pasta, adding a little of the pasta cooking water if necessary to thin the mixture.

Transfer the pasta to a warmed serving bowl, season with salt and pepper and serve with additional parmesan if desired.

Serves four as a main course;  six as a pasta course.

Food/wine pairing:  Serve with a wine that will pick up the flavors of the citrus--American or South American Sauvignon Blanc or Vinho Verde.


  1. Sorry you had such a bad day. I am very glad things are looking up now. Cooking always makes me feel better. I am so glad you shared your pasta recipe with us. Pasta for me is very comforting.

  2. Looks gorgeous! I love ricotta with my pasta, this looks like a perfect recipe for me.
    I feel sorry for myself with the Cleveland cold, but I bet that'd be a mere joke to you up there in Alaska...

  3. Omg, I eat a frozen version of this made by Smart Ones that I'm OBSESSED with. I was wondering if their were any homemade recipes out there! If a frozen version is delicious, then I can't even imagine how good this is!

  4. This looks like a nice bowl of comfort... just what you needed after that awful day!

  5. I have to say this looks absolutely amazing! I'm all about pasta - you know that! I hope your re-cast works out better than the original! I'm relieved to hear your car was an easy fix and didn't require a huge overhaul or anything like that!

  6. Glad your week ended with this delectable pasta. With the news reports of all the awful weather out east, I'm yearning for summer pasta, too :)

  7. What a wistful name for this dish. I just harvested the last of my basil (which epitomizes summer to me). I hope I can survive w/o it until summer rolls around again.

    What a week for you---I hope it continues to improve. Have a great weekend!

  8. Like that you have combined different types of herbs inside for the lovely fragrant. Looks tempting enough for me.

  9. Glad things turned out pretty well for you after a rough week, and the pasta looks great! Nothing like a comforting pasta dish at the end of a long week.

  10. This pasta looks so delicious and comforting for any time of the year!!

  11. What a relief that it is only a bad battery. Glad things looking up for you. Herbs and ricotta in pasta can never go wrong.

  12. I've made this more than once. The Bon Appetit just falls open to that page - something about the ricotta that always draws me in. And you need to make it once during the winter for mental health. I have favorite quotes from young actors: "I forgot that my high school graduation is opening night. Is it a problem if I skip it?" And "I forgot I was going to Paris tech week." Really you FORGOT you were going to Paris?

  13. This sounds delicious! I love how you roasted all the veggies; I bet that added soooo much flavor. This is a definite try for me. :-)

  14. Glad to hear your week is getting is getting better. I definitely know what those weeks feel like, especially when it comes to car batteries. This pasta looks super yummy too.

  15. glad you got to enjoy an awesome meal after what sounds like a very, very long week!

  16. Sometimes it does take a summer recipe to chase away the blues and this one does sound delicious. The citrus and the parmesan blend over pasta sure would cheer me up. Last week is history-this week will surely be better!

  17. Yum ... this is a pasta dish to be reckoned with! Interesting combination of ingredients, interesting roasting method to develop the flavours, interesting toss together!

  18. I was browsing your blog and I found this pasta dish so tempting!! I'd love the idea that you roast the corn and put it in the pasta. This is really lovely dish. We still have fresh corn here but I'll probably roast them for more flavor. Can't wait to try this soon.