we are blessed to live near some very talented artisans. geniuses of a sort, who enrich our lives regularly — with a pound of ravioli, or a review of the latest roller-derby themed, locally-set film ("see it, and expect to recognize sets and local league logos...could have featured a little more in-ring action.") and a glimmer of a friendly nametag, clinging to the register (dt's sister's from an old office, somehow unclaimed for years). yep, they're pretty great. I'm vaguely considering adding our weekly pasta to the blog, as it's something of a personal challenge for b & me, finding ingredients to pair with their most adventurous pasta any given week. sometimes it's red pepper papardelle (tomatoes, green peppers and lamb merguez sausage), sometimes it's a little wackier, like blue corn and hatch chile fettucini, or matcha green tea linguini (bok choi and dashi broth). when they get creative it's a bit of a game for us, because creative thinking is required in selecting market ingredients (yeah, we're geeks). however, on their ravioli we often employ their inventive pestos made of apricots & almonds, cashew & cilantro, arugula & ???
the following recipe was b's brainchild and credit where it's due: it was really tasty. cavatelli is a hand-made pasta, something like gnocchi, but appearing sometimes shell or hotdog-bun-like, sometimes slightly...um...grub-like in this case. except pink. and not, you know, gross.
tip of the week from our pasta-dispensing friend (other than the film review): roast beets in sand or flour to draw out moisture.
cavatelli and goat cheese pasta salad
quoth b: "I dreamed it in my head"
1 lb roast beet and tarragon cavatelli (if you can find it. heh.)
1 c. walnuts, toasted and chopped
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2-3 c. baby spinach, washed
3-4 tbsp herbed goat cheese (chevre), broken into little nubs
salt and pepper
into a pan over medium-low heat, add butter and oil, and saute onion until caramelized and mahogany. give it the time it deserves -- 10 minutes or so. season with salt, pepper, and balsamic vinegar. while onions are cooking, boil salted water for pasta, adding fresh pasta only when the onions are very near done. drain pasta when al dente, reserving a little of the pasta water to loosen goat cheese if necessary. toss drained (but still steaming) pasta with spinach and onions, until spinach is wilted, then fold in the chevre, adding pasta water a tablespoon at a time if cheese needs help coating the pasta. stir in walnuts just before serving, to keep them crunchy.