A (Locavore) Meal Worth Waiting For


As often happens at the end of a full day on the farm, I’ve got some really great produce, and no energy to do anything with it.  As a result, last night’s dinner (made from the previous night’s harvest) was developed and anticipated over the course of two days.

As I shared in a previous post, one of Wednesday’s farm projects was to thin a thickly-planted stand of broccoli raab.  At the end of that day, I also harvested the asparagus.  While asparagus is, of course, best eaten right away (though it’s not as touchy as sweet corn), there was just no way I could prepare it that night.  We went out for local R-Pizza instead.

So, last night was the night for a home-cooked meal.  I only spent a couple of hours on farm projects yesterday, the dishes had been done (thanks, H!), and I had quite a bit more creative energy than the day before.

I started out with preparing the pasta–I choose the white flour over the wheat this time–fettucine rather than whole wheat spaghetti.  While the water was coming up to a boil, I pulled out the big sauté pan and warmed some olive oil and the last of my local organic garlic, chopped.

Since the raab was simply pulled out of the ground, roots and all, there was a little prep time involved in re-washing and twisting off the roots.  Had the meal just been for me, I wouldn’t have bothered, but I didn’t want H to painstakingly bite the greens off the roots, as he’s been known to do.  So, I prepped.

Meanwhile, I also oven-warmed a bit of the bacon fat rendered from a meal a couple night’s previous in my grill pan.

When the pasta went in the water, I turned up the heat on the olive oil and added the raab to the pan to wilt and snapped the ends off the asparagus stalks.  I also mixed a little plain organic yogurt with a tad bit of organic sour cream (both from Iowa) in the sour cream container, and I peeled a couple of hardboiled local eggs I had in the fridge.

When the pasta was finished, I dumped it in the colander to drain, then drizzled a little of the bacon fat over it before adding it to the raab pan.  Then I tossed the pasta, garlic, and raab along with the creamy yogurt sauce, sprinkled on the chopped eggs, and seasoned with salt and pepper.

With the burner still hot from the pasta cooking, I put the grill pan (glistening with its coating of bacon fat) on the stovetop, layered in the asparagus spears, and clapped the pasta pot’s lid on so they’d grill and steam simultaneously.

They turned out amazingly well, and were a great compliment to the creaminess of the pasta dish.  Usually we serve asparagus with a little lemon juice spritzed over the top, but the lemon juice was actually better on the pasta–if I made this again, I’d probably add a little lemon zest to the dish or serve it with lemon wedges.

Local ingredients: broccoli raab, garlic, eggs, asparagus, bacon fat.  Regional: sour cream and yogurt.

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2 responses to this post.

  1. yum . . . this is a pure comfort meal in my book. thanks for the reminder that asparagus is in season!

  2. Posted by flyingtomato on April 30, 2010 at 1:51 pm

    Yes, I “comforted” myself with quite a bit of it! 😉

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