hot asparagus and red potato salad revisited as a pasta sauce
Yes, we like pasta. But we have to admit that a large factor behind it so often is its
flexibility. Fridge/pantry-excavation pasta sauces don't require advance planning. This
time the star player was a nice bunch of asparagus. Risotto would have been a good move
but we'd done that the night before. Soup would have been another, but under after-work
primal-feeding-urge influences, soup seemed like a long term goal.
Happy memories off the hot asparagus and red potato salad suggested a spontaneous
conversion. Well, not entirely spontaneouswe did stop along the road home for some
red potatoesbut not even a block out of our way. The cannelloni were volunteered as
a stand-in for the missing meat/fish item. Another vegetarian by default night.
- 5 small red potatoes
- 1 lb thin asparagus
- 2 T olive oil
- 1 leek, finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, pressed
- 2 small zucchini, chopped small
- 2 small yellow squash, chopped small
- 2 t balsamic vinegar
- 2 t Dijon mustard
- 1/2 c reserved asparagus water
- 1 19oz can (540g) cannelloni
- 1/2 c light cream
- 1 t salt
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1/2 c parmigiano
- 1 lb farfalle (butterfly pasta)
- So bob took the lead here with the creative development. The potatoes were started
boiling after cleaning and chopping to half inch cube equivalent chunks and the asparagus
were cleaned and mounted in their vertical pot, both for about a 10 minute boiling run,
while the pasta water was started.
- Pressing the garlic in the olive oil and throwing in the chopped leek started the
- followed by the kitchen helpers chopped squash add-in, previously prepared. Softening the
squash about 5 minutes without burning it,
- a few shakes of vinegar and the mustard join forces and then some of the asparagus water
to loosen things up again.
- Meanwhile the asparagus is done and requires chopping into 5/8 inch pieces (no rulers
needed) reserving the tips for the final assembly.
- Incorporate the drained potatoes, the asparagus pieces, some more asparagus water, the
cannelloni, and continue heating.
- Near the pasta al dente drain time, add the cream and salt and pepper.
- Finally add the drained pasta, the reserved asparagus tips, the cheese, and mix it up
- Then the moment of truth. These experiments, although always ingestible, don't always
beg to be immortalized in print. And was that a few too many shakes of the balsamic
vinegar? Drum role. The first bite goes down. YES! A big success. But those folks who only
buy the tomato-based ready-to-eat-just-heat sauces in a jarthey'll never understand.
- We had to add the word "only" since we're occasionally guilty
of picking up jars too. But to their defense, quality has improved drastically in some of
the new offerings inspired by an elevated interest in more authentic Italian food products
than the market used to offer.