- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 13, 2007

When we think of joyful, green-themed food for St. Patrick’s Day, visions of jelly beans or green sprinkles on cookies usually come to mind. We don’t normally ponder entre, especially one involving that serious green food at the far other end of the spectrum — the leaf that is literally called a green.

This is probably low on the list, if it’s there at all. But we do need something for dinner before the jelly beans or the cookies, and it’s really nice to fix some ultranutritious dark, leafy greens and then mix them into pasta to make them into a happy plateful for all tastes.

Regarding this most poetic of pastas, my mother calls them bow-ties and my daughter calls them butterflies and all three of us concur that this is our favorite shape.

Combined with the sensuously bitter combination of artichoke hearts and mustard greens and the sweetness of slow-cooked onions, the farfalle takes on a distinct character beyond its inspiring shape, and the meal feels like a true celebration, especially if accompanied by a sturdy cabernet for the grownups and some hot cinnamon-laced cider for the children.

Farfalle with artichokes, mustard greens and well-done onions

For the vegetable broth, you can use a good commercial kind, such as Imagine brand, which comes unrefrigerated in a 1-quart box.

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 cups thinly sliced onion

½ teaspoon salt

Water

½ pound mustard greens

1 133/4-ounce can artichoke hearts, rinsed and drained

1 cup vegetable broth

3/4 pound farfalle

Freshly ground black pepper

Lightly toasted minced walnuts (optional)

Heat the olive oil in a very large, deep skillet or a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. When the oil is very hot, add the onion and saute for 5 minutes.

Reduce the heat to medium, add the salt, and saute for 5 minutes longer. Turn the heat to low, cover, and continue to cook the onions for 20 more minutes. Meanwhile, put up a large potful of water to boil for the pasta.

Stir the mustard greens, artichoke hearts and broth into the onions, and heat to a boil. Turn the heat way down, cover and allow to simmer gently while the pasta cooks.

Cook the pasta until it is just tender. Drain well, and transfer to the panful of sauce. Stir well and cook over low heat for about 5 minutes. Serve hot or warm, topped with freshly ground black pepper and some minced walnuts, if desired. Makes 4 to 5 servings.

To contact Mollie Katzen, go to www.molliekatzen.com.

TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES

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