Threats of snow made me worried I wouldn’t get to the store today, but we didn’t get a single flake. After a fabulous lunch in New York City on Friday, I was a little unsure of what to cook back in my own kitchen. Yes, I had course after course beginning with foie gras, moving on to mushroom veloute (with parmesan foam), then seared sea scallops, deliciously crispy pork belly, and three kinds of tarts for dessert. Plus, they sent us off with a rainbow of macaroons and a box full of citrus-flavored pate de fuit.
Wow, that was a mouthful (and a stomach full). How do I top that at home? Sometimes after a meal like that, it’s almost like I doubt my own abilities rather than feel inspired. But luckily, you and I had already picked a theme for this week: cooking with greens. This thought kept me on track, and when I was on the train ride back home, I played with ideas in my head.
I decided, in the end, on a pasta dish. (One thing I rarely order at restaurants is pasta, because I know I can make it just how I like it at home – plus it’s always quick and always easy. It seemed like the perfect thing to make to come out of a food coma.) I love tossing greens with warm pasta, because it makes the greens wilt just slightly. It brings out their flavor and cooks them just a tad, until they are tender and soft.
I wanted the spicy mustard greens I chose to be the star, so I tried to complement it with other flavors – acidic but sweet roasted cherry tomatoes, salty bacon and parmesan cheese, plus lots of onions, garlic, and good olive oil. The result was like a warm, comforting salad. The greens were fragrant and strong, but the pasta balanced their spicy flavor. I ate it on the porch, wrapped in a blanket.
As it turns out, it felt deliciously good to be home, eating my own food. The table settings may have been lacking (as was the table), the decor left something to be desired, but my stomach was happy to be home.
First I prepped the following:
1 large handful of pasta
(I cooked the pasta in salted boiling water until tender, about 6-9 minutes)
1 cup cherry tomatoes
(I seasoned the tomatoes with salt and pepper and roasted them in a 375 degree oven for 15 minutes)
5 strips bacon
(I cooked the bacon in a skillet until crispy, about 3-4 minutes)
Then I finished the dish:
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
3 cups mustard greens, roughly chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
shaved parmesan cheese, to taste
– Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute until the onions are translucent, about 4-5 minutes. Add the pasta, tomatoes, bacon, and mustard greens. Toss until the greens are wilted and the mixture is heated through, about 2-3 minutes. Season well with salt and pepper, and finish with shaved parmesan cheese.