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Looking for recipes?
Come home with more good food than you know what to do with? Interested in trying something new and different with market produce? Check out our recipe index for some new ideas! Have a recipe you'd like to share? Email us at svgmarket@gmail.com.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

News from the SVGM - July 1st

Susquehanna Valley Growers' Market
July 1st, 2011

In this week's email:

  • News From The Market
  • Seasonal Recipe
  • On The Website
* * * * *

News From The Market
July is here, and it's time to stock up on good food for the big holiday weekend! Whether you're looking for sustainably raised meats for the Independence Day grill, fresh vegetables to round out the meal, or some fine, local fruit for dessert, you can find it at the Growers' Market this Friday afternoon. Grass-fed beef hot dogs and sweet pork sausages are just perfect for outdoor grilling, especially when the weather forecast is calling for some sweltering heat, but you can also find freshly dressed chickens, pasture-raised veal, and plenty of fresh ground beef for some fine, juicy hamburgers.

Now's the time to pick up fresh peas, while they're sweet and delicious. Late spring plantings, followed by all of this hot weather, may well mean an abbreviated season for peas, so get them while you can. Sugar snaps are wonderful to nibble on, but don't overlook the wonderful shell peas, which have been a treat for Americans as far back as Thomas Jefferson's day. Beets are coming on strong these days, too, and you can look for fresh Swiss chard, sweet carrots, and ripe hothouse-raised tomatoes and cucumbers to fill out a range of side salads.

Now is also the perfect time to enjoy sour cherries from Bella's Gardens! Not to be confused with sweet cherries, sours (also called tart or pie cherries) are a shade too tart for some to eat straight from the bowl. They do, however, make the very finest cherry pies, and we have a recipe this week for Bella's BEST Ever Cherry Pie to show you how it's done. The season for sour cherries is relatively brief, however, so be sure to get yours before it's over. Pitted, they freeze wonderfully in zip-top bags, pre-measured for enjoying a taste of summer sweetness months from now.


Pass the newsletter along! If you've received a copy from a friend, and would like to get one each week during the market season, send an email to: svgmarket@gmail.com

Susquehanna Valley Growers' Market
July 1st, 2011
2pm - 6pm
Ard's Farm Market
4803 Old Turnpike Rd, Lewisburg
(Between Lewisburg and Mifflinburg, on PA 45)
Visit our website at http://growersmarket.blogspot.com/
Check us out on Facebook

* * * * *

Seasonal Recipe
Bella's BEST Ever Cherry Pie

From Bella's Gardens
Makes1 pie

Yes, it's possible to make a cherry pie from sweet cherries, but to do so would be to miss out on a real cherry pie. Use real sour cherries, which have a distinctly different, more floral flavor than their sweet cousins. The good folks from Bella's note that they like to mix different varieties of cherries for their pie, when they get the chance.

For a matching pie crust, check out the Bella's Gardens recipe on our website, or use your favorite. Any top crust works well, though there's no pie that takes to a lattice top quite like a cherry pie.

Ingredients:
  • 5 (at least) cups cherries, pitted
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. almond extract
  • 1/8 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp. allspice
  • 1-½ tbsp. cornstarch
  • Milk, for the top crust
  • 2-3 tbsp. butter
  • 1 recipe pie crust, enough for both bottom and top crusts
Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Mix together the sugar, spices, cornstarch, and almond extract. Toss the pitted cherries with the mixture, stirring well to combine, ensuring there are no pumps of cornstarch remaining.

  2. Lay the bottom crust in a pie pan, and pile the cherries inside, spreading evenly. Dot with the butter, and cover with the top crust. Flute around the edges, and lightly brush the top with milk to provide a nice brown shine. Cut vents in the top, if covering completely with crust, and place the pie on a baking sheet to catch any bubbles and drips. Bake 45 to 50 minutes, until the crust is brown and the filling is thickened and bubbling. Allow to cool before slicing and serving.
* * * * *

On The Website
Need a crust to cradle your 4th of July sour cherry pie? Try Bella's Friend Sue's BEST Ever Pie Crust! It's a lightning-quick oil crust that's easier to manage than a butter crust on a hot summer day.

Bonus Recipe, July 1st: Bella's Friend Sue's BEST Ever Pie Crust

Seasonal Recipe
Bella's Friend Sue's BEST Ever Pie Crust

From Bella's Gardens
Makes a double crust (bottom and top)

In the realm of simple pie crusts, this has to be one of the easiest. Try it with a fresh cherry pie for the 4th of July!

Ingredients:

  • 2-2/3 cups flour
  • 2/3 cup salad oil
  • 1/3 cup milk
Directions:
  1. Mix together the oil and milk, and mix into the flour with a fork. Divide the dough in half, and roll out between sheets of wax paper.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

News from the SVGM - June 24th

Susquehanna Valley Growers' Market
June 24th, 2011

In this week's email:

  • News From The Market
  • Seasonal Recipe
  • On The Website
* * * * *

News From The Market
Another Friday afternoon Growers' Market is coming, rain or shine! (Despite the heat and humidity, too.) It's a week to look for the usual treats, and new vegetables are starting to trickle in. One worth looking for this week is freshly dug, uncured garlic. More pungent than garlic scapes, but less potent than fully cured garlic cloves, these heads provide a gentle garlic flavor that's ideal for delicate spring vegetables, or with less assertive meats like chicken or veal.

There are plenty of cheeses to choose from at the SVGM, from fresh goat chevre to a variety of aged, raw, cow's and goat's milk delicacies. There's the potent funk of Stone Meadow Farm's ripe taleggio, or the rich creaminess of their brie and camambert; look for the nuttiness of Broadway Acres' goat gouda, or the gentle brininess of their delicious feta. These are certainly cheeses to enjoy on their own, perhaps with a glass of wine and some fresh, crusty bread. But don't overlook the humble ricotta, a sweet and mild cheese that lends a richness and creaminess to recipes. Combine it with fresh spinach or chard for Ricotta and Spinach Fritters, for a quick vegetable side dish. Or spend a few extra minutes at breakfast time to make some wonderfully light Ricotta-Lemon Pancakes, which would be perfect with dollops of red raspberry jam.

We have more musical entertainment at the market this week, as Woody Wolfe stops by with his guitar. Last week, A.J. Bashore was there to "make a joyful noise," as he says, and we're looking forward to having both of these local musicians back again later in the season!

Pass the newsletter along! If you've received a copy from a friend, and would like to get one each week during the market season, send an email to: svgmarket@gmail.com

Susquehanna Valley Growers' Market
June 24th, 2011
2pm - 6pm
Ard's Farm Market
4803 Old Turnpike Rd, Lewisburg
(Between Lewisburg and Mifflinburg, on PA 45)
Visit our website at http://growersmarket.blogspot.com/
Check us out on Facebook

* * * * *

Seasonal Recipe
Ricotta and Spinach Fritters

Adapted from Vegetarian Cooking For Everyone by Deborah Madison (Broadway, 1997)
Serves 4

There are all manner of fritters out there, ranging from the humble potato pancake to the Japanese okonomiyaki, which really can be a meal in and of itself. For the most part, fritters combine plain vegetables, such as greens, zucchini, or cabbage, with binders like egg and flour to keep them together just long enough to brown up their edges. Once you get the hang of it, almost any seasonal vegetable can be tossed in, with reliably good results.

Use whatever greens are in season for this recipe, adjusting the cooking time accordingly. Chard is delicious here, too, and its brightly colored stems keep their intensity and look wonderful in contrast to the green of the leaves.

Ingredients:
  • 1 bunch spinach
  • 1 cup ricotta
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup flour
  • ½ cup grated cheese, such as cheddar or colby
  • 2 tbsp. grated parmesan cheese
  • Oil or butter for frying
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
Directions:
  1. Blanch the spinach in salted boiling water until tender, only a minute or so, and drain well. Squeeze out any excess water, and chop finely. Mix together with the remaining ingredients (except the oil).

  2. Heat a skillet or griddle over medium heat, and add a thin film of oil. When hot, drop the batter on by spoonfuls, as big or small as you like. If making big fritters, you may need to spread the batter gently, to ensure the inside is done by the time the outside gets nicely brown. Cook about five minutes per side, flipping once. Serve while still hot.
* * * * *

On The Website
Pancakes are an easy breakfast, whether whipped up from scratch or from a mix, such as White Frost Farm's own delicious whole wheat version. With just a few minutes' more effort, you can make some amazing Ricotta-Lemon Pancakes, which cook up light and creamy, a whole different sort of pancake that's perfect with some of the delicious handmade jams available each week at the SVGM!

Bonus Recipe, June 24th: Ricotta-Lemon Pancakes

Seasonal Recipe
Ricotta-Lemon Pancakes

Adapted from How To Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman (Wiley, 2007)
Serves 4

The ricotta helps transform the humble pancake into something lighter, creamier, and more delicate; the lemon gives it a bright flavor that's wonderful first thing in the morning. If you're taking the time to squeeze your own orange juice, too, then go ahead and make these as orange-scented pancakes.

They're delicious with any fresh fruit, although ripe red raspberries, which ought to be appearing any day now, are just about the best. And if you can't get fresh berries, some red raspberry jam is a very welcome addition.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup ricotta
  • 1 cup sour cream or yogurt
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. lemon zest
Directions:
  1. Heat a griddle over medium-low heat, since the batter's quite quick to prepare. In a bowl, whisk together the ricotta, sour cream, and egg yolks. In another bowl, with a clean whisk, beat the egg whites to stiff, moist peaks.

  2. Add the flour to the ricotta mixture, until just combined. Fold in the egg whites, taking care not to deflate them too much. A few white flecks throughout the batter isn't a problem.

  3. Grease the griddle lightly with butter, and add the batter by spoonfuls. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes per side, until just brown. Serve immediately. They're at their very best when still hot.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

News from the SVGM - June 17th

Susquehanna Valley Growers' Market
June 17th, 2011

In this week's email:

  • News From The Market
  • Seasonal Recipe
  • On The Website
* * * * *

News From The Market
The Growers' Market will be back at Ard's again tomorrow afternoon, in time for you to pick up all your food needs for Father's Day this weekend. Sunny days and reasonable June temperatures ought to make things just perfect for grilling. Pick up whatever appeals to the dads and granddads you'll see this weekend: chickens to spice up with your favorite barbecue sauce; juicy pork chops or sausages from happy hogs; or a few fine steaks from grass-fed cows. You really can't go wrong.

For one possible side dish, you can always try using some of the fresh red beets that'll be at market this week. Try a Roasted Beet Salad, which combines fresh beets with some fine local salad greens, crumbled cheese, and sweet spring onions for a dish that's brightly colored and boldly flavored. If you're looking for a Father's Day meal for the first half of the day, you could always make something hearty, like our Sausage and Chard Breakfast Burritos. Load them up with sausage and eggs, cooked greens and garlic scapes, and you've got a great way to kick off an enjoyable day outside with Dad.

Pass the newsletter along! If you've received a copy from a friend, and would like to get one each week during the market season, send an email to: svgmarket@gmail.com

Susquehanna Valley Growers' Market
June 17th, 2011
2pm - 6pm
Ard's Farm Market
4803 Old Turnpike Rd, Lewisburg
(Between Lewisburg and Mifflinburg, on PA 45)
Visit our website at http://growersmarket.blogspot.com/
Check us out on Facebook

* * * * *

Seasonal Recipe
Roasted Beet Salad

Adapted from From Asparagus to Zucchini by The Madison Area Community Supported Agriculture Coalition (Jones Books, 2004)
Serves 4

Beets are starting to appear at the market now, and they're the sort of vegetable that appears regularly throughout the season. With their sweet, assertive flavor and range of bold colors, they're a great addition to all sorts of meals. Beets play well with strongly flavored cheeses, herbs, rich meats, and tangy dressings. Here they're paired with some salty feta cheese, a tangy vinaigrette dressing, and some fresh spring mix greens (or crisp lettuce) for a range of textures and flavors.

Beet greens are delicious, too, so don't throw them out! They're a nearly indistinguishable replace for Swiss chard, which is just a beet bred for big leaves and stems, rather than plump roots.

Ingredients:
  • 6-8 small beets, scrubbed and tops trimmed
  • 4 cups spring mix salad greens
  • 4 spring onions, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup crumbled feta cheese
  • ¼ cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. mustard
  • ¼ cup white wine vinegar
  • ½ cup olive oil, plus more for roasting beets
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F, or heat up a gas or charcoal grill. Place the beets in a layer of foil, and coat lightly with olive oil, salt and pepper. Wrap tightly and roast or grill until tender enough to be pierced easily with a knife, about 30 minutes. This may vary depending on the size of your beets. Allow to cool, and when you can handle them, peel off the skins and trim the tops and tails. Cut into quarters or rings.

  2. Whisk or shake together the olive oil, vinegar, and mustard to forma vinaigrette, and use to dress the greens. Portion out onto individual plates, or into a large bowl, and arrange the beets, feta cheese, walnuts, and scallions over the top. Serve immediately.
* * * * *

On The Website
Use those leftover beet greens in some Sausage and Chard Breakfast Burritos, perfect for an uncomplicated Fathers' Day brunch. They're excellent with a pot of hot coffee, and a few sweet scones or other delicious baked goods, and all but the final assembly can be prepared well ahead of time.

Bonus Recipe, June 17th: Sausage and Chard Breakfast Burritos

Seasonal Recipe
Sausage and Chard Breakfast Burritos

Serves 4

Breakfast burritos come with all kinds of fillings, and, since they're hardly traditional, it's easy to play around and make them with whatever's at hand. This recipe combines a slightly sweet sausage with cooked greens, a bit of cheese, some egg and salsa to make a serious, all-in-one breakfast treat.

Burritos are easy to modify to everyone's taste, as long as they're not so full that they can't be rolled up. Just be sure to remember whose is whose!

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. fresh sausage
  • 1 large bunch Swiss chard or beet greens, chopped
  • 6 garlic scapes, chopped small
  • 1-½ cups shredded pepper jack cheese
  • 4 eggs
  • Chopped fresh cilantro, to taste
  • Salsa and/or hot sauce, to taste
  • 4 large flour tortillas
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
Directions:
  1. You can either remove the sausage from its casing and crumble it, then cook loosely in a large skillet, or cook the sausages through and dice. Whichever you prefer, make sure you have sausage in small bite sizes. Cook or heat the pieces in a large skillet, and add the garlic scapes when the sausage is fully cooked and browning up nicely.

  2. Add the chard to the pan. If the leaves are still wet from washing, you probably won't need any extra moisture, but be ready to add a splash of water if the pan appears too dry. Cook, stirring, until the greens are wilted. Meanwhile, in a nonstick pan, scramble the eggs and cook until just a little short of where you like them done; they'll continue to cook once you wrap them in the tortillas.

  3. Warm the tortillas by wrapping them in foil and placing them in a 300°F oven for 10 minutes, by heating individually in the microwave, or by setting on a hot griddle for a few seconds on each side. Spread a portion of cheese on each tortilla, and top with the meat and greens mixture, scrambled eggs, cilantro, and any salsa or hot sauce. Roll up tightly. At this point, you can serve immediately, though burritos get even better when heated up for a few minutes on a hot griddle, until just a little brown and crispy on top and bottom. Serve hot!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

News from the SVGM - June 10th

Susquehanna Valley Growers' Market
June 10th, 2011

In this week's email:

  • News From The Market
  • Seasonal Recipe
  • On The Website
* * * * *

News From The Market
It's almost time again for another Growers' Market! All of this sun, wind, and warmth has meant that our local farmers have been busy out in the fields, planting, cultivating, and working hard to make up for a cold and soggy spring. Look for the delicious results - tomatoes and peppers, beans and potatoes, sweet corn and fresh edamame - in the weeks and months to come.

Now, of course, is prime season to enjoy fresh salads, with plenty of spring mix greens and lettuces fresh and tender. They're not limited to salads, however, and a good head of sweet and crisp lettuce is the ideal foundation for some Korean Bulgogi Ssambap: lettuce wraps filled with barbecued beef, rice, and Korean condiments. You can even make your own Quick Radish Kimchi, a fast and easy version of the traditional Korean pickled vegetables, that's excellent made with Asian cabbages, cucumbers, or whatever crunchy vegetables are in season, all summer long.

Try washing it all down with some mint iced tea, made with fresh, local mint, sweetened to taste with some delicate autumn honey. Honey, of course, dissolves so much better into a glass of cold iced tea than a spoonful of sugar. Or macerate some fresh strawberries, and enjoy them with some fresh whole wheat shortcake, sweet scones, or even with an espresso and chocolate brownie.

This week also marks the start of garlic scape season! Those curling tops of the garlic plants, with their delicate garlic flavor, are a brief seasonal treat, only available for a few brief weeks. Get them while you can!

Pass the newsletter along! If you've received a copy from a friend, and would like to get one each week during the market season, send an email to: svgmarket@gmail.com

Susquehanna Valley Growers' Market
June 10th, 2011
2pm - 6pm
Ard's Farm Market
4803 Old Turnpike Rd, Lewisburg
(Between Lewisburg and Mifflinburg, on PA 45)
Visit our website at http://growersmarket.blogspot.com/
Check us out on Facebook

* * * * *

Seasonal Recipe
Korean Bulgogi Ssambap

Serves 4-6

Ssambap are Korean rice wraps, bite-size combinations of meat, rice, condiments, and a leaf wrap, made and eaten one at a time. Lettuce is the most popular wrap, and certainly the easiest, though blanched cabbage leaves are common with cooked pork shoulder, and some varieties even use tender seaweed leaves or thin, delicate crepes to hold everything together.

Just like making tacos, keep in mind that everything here is just a suggestion. Go with what's in season, what sounds good, and try different combinations of ingredients as you go. Having a variety of fillings to choose from can make dinner more fun, even for picky eaters.

Ingredients:
  • 1 large, or 2 medium heads of leaf lettuce
  • 2 bunches spring onions
  • 1-½ lb. lean, tender beef, such as tenderloin
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 4 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp. sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tbsp. toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tbsp. water
  • Steamed rice
  • Daenjang (Korean bean paste), gochujang (Korean chilli paste), kimchi, or other condiments
Directions:
  1. Cut the beef into 1/8-inch slices across the grain. The easiest way to do this is to put the meat in the freezer for 20 minutes, firming it up. Cut with a sharp knife, using a single stroke, if possible. Any slices that are too thick can be gently pounded out between sheets of wax paper.

  2. Prepare the marinade by mincing the garlic finely and thinly slicing the spring onions. Add half of the onions to the marinade, reserving the other half for the ssam wraps. Mix the garlic and spring onions with the sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil, vinegar, ginger, sesame seeds, black pepper, and water. Pour over the meat in a nonreactive bowl, turning everything to get a good coating, and refrigerate for at least an hour.

  3. While heating up the grill, pull the lettuce leaves from the heads, and get any condiments ready, as the beef takes only moments to cook. Drain the marinade from the beef, and cook the slices over the hot grill, in batches if necessary, just long enough to get a good sear, about 2 minutes per side. Serve immediately, using the lettuce leaves as cups to hold bite-size portions of rice, beef bulgogi, spring onions, and other sauces to taste.
* * * * *

On The Website
Kimchi is often made like a heavily seasoned sauerkraut, salted and allowed to ferment in the cooling autumn weather to preserve vegetables for winter consumption. You can certainly make kimchi that way, with radishes, cabbage, or whatever's available, but sometimes it's nice to be able to whip up a salty, pungent condiment in time for dinner. Our Quick Radish Kimchi version uses fresh radishes, since they're in season, and bring their own pepperiness to the mix. It takes less than an hour, so you can make it in the time it takes the rest of a Korean-inspired dinner to finish marinating.

Bonus Recipe, June 10th: Quick Radish Kimchi

Seasonal Recipe
Quick Radish Kimchi

Serves 6

Kimchi is often made like a heavily seasoned sauerkraut, salted and allowed to ferment in the cooling autumn weather to preserve vegetables for winter consumption. You can certainly make kimchi that way, with radishes, cabbage, or whatever's available, but sometimes it's nice to be able to whip up a salty, pungent condiment in time for dinner. This version uses fresh radishes, since they're in season, and bring their own pepperiness to the mix, but try this with other crisp vegetables as the season progresses.

Ingredients:

  • 3 bunches large radishes
  • ½ tbsp. salt
  • 2-½ tbsp. sugar
  • 2 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • 1-½ tbsp. thinly sliced fresh ginger
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp. fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 small carrot, cut into thin matchsticks or shredded
Directions:
  1. Trim the tops and tails from the radishes, reserving the greens for another dish. Cut into thin slices or matchsticks, depending on the shape you prefer. Toss with ¼ tsp. salt and ½ tbsp. sugar, and let drain in a colander for 15 minutes.

  2. Combine the radishes with the remaining ingredients in a bowl, and let stand for another 15 minutes. Stir, taste to adjust the seasoning, and it's ready to serve.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

News from the SVGM - June 3rd

Susquehanna Valley Growers' Market
June 3rd, 2011

In this week's email:

  • News From The Market
  • Seasonal Recipe
  • On The Website
* * * * *

News From The Market
At last, a reprieve from the spring rains! With warm, sunny weather comes the opportunity for our local farmers to get out into their fields, catching up on the planting, cultivating, and all of the other work that a muddy season makes so difficult. Summer is here, it would seem, and those days of ripe tomatoes and sweet corn can't be too far away.

These days of sunshine are helping out the growing spring plants, too. Look for ripe, red strawberries this week, which would be delicious on a salad with crispy buttercrunch lettuce, slices of fresh radishes, and a drizzle of reduced balsamic vinegar. Or take some fresh spinach, combined with some wonderful ham, for a hearty dish of Pasta with Spinach, Ham, and Cream. It's excellent with fresh, local ingredients, and perhaps none more than making your own Handmade Egg Pasta. It only requires fresh eggs, flour, and an afternoon or evening with an extra half hour to spend in the kitchen. Try including some freshly ground whole wheat flour for a healthier, more flavorful base for rich pasta sauces.

Don't forget the rest of the goodies from this week's market, too: handmade raw-milk cheeses; sweet fruit jams to spread on freshly toasted artisan breads; crunchy honey-caramel popcorn; decadent truffles and espresso brownies; brightly colored bouquets of flowers; hanging baskets to brighten your front porch. Every week, there's something new and unexpected!

Pass the newsletter along! If you've received a copy from a friend, and would like to get one each week during the market season, send an email to: svgmarket@gmail.com

Susquehanna Valley Growers' Market
June 3rd, 2011
2pm - 6pm
Ard's Farm Market
4803 Old Turnpike Rd, Lewisburg
(Between Lewisburg and Mifflinburg, on PA 45)
Visit our website at http://growersmarket.blogspot.com/
Check us out on Facebook

* * * * *

Seasonal Recipe
Pasta with Spinach, Ham, and Cream

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma: Pasta Sauces by Emanuela Stucchi Prinetti (Time-Life, 1994)
Serves 4

This recipe modifies a more traditional Italian version that might use prosciutto, or a similar dry-cured ham, but it's excellent with any sort of cured pork. Here, it uses ham, but rich, smoky bacon or crisped, flavorful pancetta would add a nice touch, too. The spinach is merely a suggestion, as well, since any seasonal cooked greens would match nicely. Use dandelions in the early spring, spinach now, and then chard, beet greens, and kale as the season progresses.

Long, flat noodles, such as tagliatelle, are ideal here, with plenty of surface area to pick up the creamy sauce. Those long ribbons are also remarkably easy to make at home, and the tender texture and rich flavor of fresh egg pasta suits this dish well.

Ingredients:
  • 1 lb. spinach, thoroughly washed
  • 4 tbsp. butter
  • 4 oz. ham, cut into thin strips
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • A pinch of freshly grated nutmeg, or to taste
  • Salt, to taste
  • ¾ cup freshly grated Romano cheese
  • Freshly cooked pasta
Directions:
  1. In a saucepan filled with boiling, salted water, blanch the spinach just until it begins to wilt, about 1 minute. Drain in a colander, press out excess liquid, and chop coarsely.

  2. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the spinach and cook, stirring, until the excess moisture evaporates. Add the ham, cream, and nutmeg to the pan, and bring just up to a boil. Season to taste, and turn off the heat until ready to mix with the noodles. Toss the sauce with the pasta - in the pan works well, if it's large enough - and transfer to bowls or a serving dish. Top with some of the grated cheese, and serve immediately. Pass the rest of the cheese at the table.
* * * * *

On The Website
Pasta is simple, cheap, and readily available. It's a perfect quick dinner, since tossing together a simple sauce often takes less time than bringing a pot full of water up to a boil. But Handmade Egg Pasta is something else entirely, with its rich, eggy flavor and silky tenderness. It might not be the ideal fare for a busy weeknight, but it's ideal for a lazy weekend afternoon.

Bonus Recipe, June 3rd: Handmade Egg Pasta

Seasonal Recipe
Handmade Egg Pasta

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma: Pasta Sauces by Emanuela Stucchi Prinetti (Time-Life, 1994)
Makes about 1 lb.

Most store-bought pasta is made from durum semolina and water, extruded through shaped dies, and dried. It's shelf stable, easy to cook, and, well, pretty bland. While there are seemingly endless varieties of shapes, each with their own, sometimes amusing, names, they're all just pasta. Cook until al dente, sauce, and serve.

Egg pasta, on the other hand, replaces with water with eggs. You can still use semolina, though the regular all-purpose flour in the pantry makes fines noodles, too. You can also use a portion of whole wheat flour for additional flavor, or even replace a portion of the eggs with something else flavorful, like pureed, cooked spinach. These noodles aren't supposed to be al dente, but cooked until tender, which gives them a supple silkiness that's perfect with creamy sauces. A higher proportion of yolks makes for a richer, more flavorful pasta, as well as noodles with a distinctly golden color.

Pasta machines can be used to ease the rolling and cutting, but are hardly necessary. Careful, relaxed hands with a rolling pin, like Italians have done for generations, can do the job just as well.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups flour - white, whole wheat, or a combination - plus more for the board
  • 3 eggs, or 6 egg yolks
Directions:
  1. Pile the flour on a work surface, and create a well in the center. Crack the eggs into the well, and whisk with a fork to blend. Work around the edge to incorporate the flour slowly, until all combined. Knead the dough until it's smooth and elastic, adding extra flour as needed. Wrap in plastic to prevent it drying out, and let rest for at least 10 minutes, or in the refrigerator for an hour. (You can also take care of the mixing and kneading in a food processor.)

  2. When the dough's gluten has relaxed, unwrap and roll out to your desired thickness on a floured board. Cut into strips, squares, or whatever shape you like with a knife or pizza cutter, and allow to dry briefly while you bring salted water to a boil. Fresh noodles will cook quickly, with the time dependent on how thin they are. Very thin noodles can cook in as little as a minute or two, so be ready to check them.

  3. If you make a large quantity at once, egg pasta freezes very well before it's been boiled. Wrap tightly in plastic to prevent freezer burn. You can bring them straight from the freezer to boiling water, with no need to thaw beforehand.