I’ve been drooling over this recipe (Barefoot Contessa at Home), waiting for our CSA to send more arugula. The online version of the recipe also includes broccoli. Ordinarily, I wouldn’t have known that, but because we have several friends participating in the same CSA, one of our friends e-mailed me the online version of the recipe and pointed out that our CSA box had all of the vegetables for this recipe last week. It was as if it was meant to be. This was even better than it looks, which is saying something. I would definitely make this for guests (including vegetarians!), and the leftovers were just as good cold the next day. I’m toying with the idea of making a spring version next year with asparagus and spinach. I used a whole grain pasta (Barilla Plus rotini), which held up well to the flavors of the sauce and the vegetables.
Tag Archives: arugula
This recipe (Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics) is the type of recipe that made me want to start this project. It’s simple, it’s healthy, and it contains ingredients that we like. But before this project, I would have admired the picture, taken note of the ingredients, thought, “I should really make that sometime,” and then the time would never come. It’s not that we don’t eat salad, it’s just that I get into the routine of making the same kind of salad every time, so we get into ruts. The challenge I’ve had lately is to really focus on these great winter vegetables without over-doing any one thing until we get tired of it. Butternut squash, for example, plays a large role on the pages of the Barefoot Contessa cookbooks. We love it, but if we eat it more than once or twice a week, we’ll turn orange, and we’ll never want to see another squash again. So, spacing things out has been key, while still putting a heavy emphasis on seasonal vegetables. Because really, it would be kind of silly to be roasting a butternut squash in July. I used apple juice instead of apple cider in the dressing (a substitution suggested in the recipe itself). The parmesan was nice, but not necessary – there were enough other flavors going on without it.
I will admit to being afraid of cooking with leeks. Every recipe I read that calls for leeks includes instructions to carefully wash between the leaves, as dirt can get trapped in the tight spaces between them. I saw a demonstration of cleaning leeks that included filling the entire kitchen sink with water and giving the leeks a bath to get out all of the dirt. I’m not sure I could bleach my kitchen sink enough to be comfortable with that process. Our food does not touch our kitchen sink, knowing how many times we wash our hands there. Furthermore, most recipes calling for leeks were for potato leek soup. It sounded good, but I already had a potato soup recipe from my native Wisconsin: potato cheese soup, of course. The recipe I’ve used in the past was from the (in)famous Tee Pee Supper Club in Tomah, Wisconsin. My dad owned it when I was born, and we ate there quite a bit when I was growing up. My birth was apparently celebrated there with many, many drinks. My dad’s brief experience as a restauranteur led him to talking me out of a culinary career when I was thinking about ditching the whole law school gig: ”But sweetheart, you don’t have a drug problem, or even a drinking problem. I’m not sure you’d fit in at cooking school.” (Be sure to check out the Tee Pee’s web page, by the way, especially the mission statement and the “testimonial.” It’s now owned by Ed Thompson, the Billy Carter/Roger Clinton of Wisconsin. Strange story, good soup.)
So, as tempting as potato leek soup sounded, I had never actually made it. And then a leek showed up in our CSA box, along with some beautiful yellow potatoes. I found a recipe on pp. 63-64 of Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics and got to work. The leeks were actually not that difficult to clean – I cut off the large green ends first, and then washed them. This recipe called for roasting the potatoes and leeks, which filled the house with a heavenly aroma. It also called for arugula, which we’d grown to like quite a lot this summer. The end result was fantastic, and when I left to spend a few days with my parents the next day, my husband ate an obscene amount of leftover soup for lunch. The shallots were a really nice addition, after being crisped on the stovetop. This soup was so satisfying that even my meat-loving husband turned down bacon as an extra topping.