Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Besto-Pesto Pasta

We have been lucky in the Ann Arbor area to have had easy access to many varieties of a locally-made pasta from a company called Al Dente Pasta Company, founded by Monique Deschaines in 1981. Although over the years, we have tried everything available, our favorite has become the Whole Wheat Blend with Flaxseed Fettuccine. In fact, even though Monique recently gave me a couple of other varieties to try, including her newest one that includes chia seeds as an ingredient, I have to admit that I am 'stuck on' my favorite. In fact, even my husband (who enjoys trying all food, including all new food, really tasting them) noticed that I had switched pasta type and very politely asked for repeat appearances of our usual pasta variety, preferring both the taste and the texture. Coming from my husband, that is high praise indeed for the Whole Wheat Blend with Flaxseed!

Here is how I served pasta the other night with a few added ingredients. Serve a side salad, add a glass of red wine, and then you have a quick, delicious, easy, beautiful, healthy, and very satisfying meal.

1) Whole wheat blend with flaxseed fettucine pasta (I cook half the package for the two of us)
2) Garlic Scape-Kale Pesto (i.e. the Besto-Pesto!) - as much as you wish, at least 1/2 cup
3) Artichoke hearts, halves or quarters - marinated or in brine (drain and rinse well if in brine) - I am generous and always use a full 15 ounce can
4) Dried tomatoes - as many as you wish - cut in strips or halves - I buy ones not packed in oil and use these when I want tomatoes but fresh ones are not yet in season. I refuse to buy or eat pale, hard, and tasteless tomatoes!

I know this recipe has more than the three ingredients that Monique loves to see, but I am counting the pesto as one. If made ahead of time (or some other type of pesto purchased), adding it is as easy as any one other ingredient.

1) Cook pasta per directions. Drain. Toss with just a smidgeon of olive oil.
2) Add remaining ingredients and toss well either back in the pasta cooking pot or a beautiful bowl if serving at the table.
3) Serve - so good!!!!!!! I doubt if there were any left-overs this night. :)

(Ingredients for Besto-Pesto Pasta)

(Besto-Pesto Pasta with garlic scape garnish!)
We need as many simple, quick, and easy meals like this as we can come up with because the next several months are our busiest days. In fact we are so busy (I tell everyone with a completely straight face that we are trying to cram 36 hours into a 24 hour day), but need good food to be able to work at this intense pace day after day, that I am going to hire a young friend to start cooking for us a couple of nights per week. I'm going to give her a 'free hand' to go through the recipes on my current website and re-work them in ways that fit with a healthy, local, organic, ethical, and grass-fed approach to food (remember when I had my SOLE Sisters book club, where SOLE stood for sustainable, organic, local, and ethical eating?). This should be fun, and I am looking forward to this new plan for us. Healthy nachos and/or popcorn one night a week is ok, but ................ learning from the past is a better plan!

Garlic scapes are done, done, done being harvested. Today I found just a few stragglers and cut them off as we are getting the fields ready to begin our garlic harvesting. The ultra hot weather may keep us from doing as much as we would like to do, but it is time to get started, heat or not. We just change clothes 2-3 times per day, doing laundry every night.

A few photos of the farm happenings (Spring 2012) have been posted up on our farm's Facebook page. You might have noticed that I finally changed the heading photo of the blog. The former photo of the full moon over a future garlic field was taken in early February on the morning of my birthday. February!! It is about time I got around to changing it..........the two birdhouses were just hanging out in our garage. My sister in law Ann knew just how and where they needed to go to add something cute to the entrance to the farm! Thanks, Ann. You can come be our artist-in-residence anytime. :)

(Two cute little birdhouses along the driveway entrance to the farm, just meant to be cute, complete with their hand-painted trim to coordinate with the red roof of our barn.)
"Cultivate your life - you are what you grow - inch by inch, row by row" 

Diana Dyer, MS, RD

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