A Bowtie Affair
Every day I take my lunch break in the office gym (hold your applause), where I commence to forego eating to indulge in both an invigorating workout and, my real reason, CABLE TV.
I don’t have cable at home. I grew up without television (my parents had some notion that tv made kids fight) and somehow that upbringing engrained in me the dislike for paid (by me) programming. After all, I’m willing to lend a few moments of my laundry folding time to zippy ads about some old lady in her motorized wheelchair picking up some product or another (see, advertising dollars go to waste on me) that propels her at 60 mph down a narrow grocery store aisle.
That being said, if ever the genius execs at the cable company thought to offer an “ala carte” option that let’s a customer pay for just the channels they want, I’d sign up in a heart beat for two…Discovery and the Food Network. Now I love PBS cooking shows to death, but nothing quite compares to the high glitz ‘n glamour of the Food Network star chefs and their shows. I’m like a moth to the light. As such, my lunch hour is spent gazing from the treadmill at the overhead TV and contemplating how I’d present the dish differently and what ingredient would be a better substitute for this and that and OMG, can you get a shirt that’s any more revealing!?!?…
Suffice to say, I get a lot of ideas – and hunger pains – over my lunch hour. I watch. I think. I plan. And then I execute mutant versions of what I see. So it is that I’m not sure what show precisely inspired this dish, but I’d like to collectively thank the Food Network for another winner. Creamy with a hint of sorrel tang and the buttery texture of the zucchini, the dish works great for a family table main course or as a cold pasta salad at a picnic (I used it for both). The bowtie pasta isn’t the only kind you could use, but it does hold up nicely to the sheer bulk of the other ingredients.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I think I’m due in the gym for my next fix…
Bowtie Pasta with Sorrel, Zucchini and Chicken
Inspired after watching several Food Network shows
1 box of bowtie pasta
20 stems of sorrel, washed and cut into thin ribbons
3 T. basil leaves, finely minced
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
half a red onion, thinly sliced
1 medium eight ball zucchini (or other variety), julienned
3 T. vegetable or chicken broth
2 T. olive oil
1 T. butter
4 oz. softened goat cheese
4 oz. softened cream cheese
8 oz. of pre-cooked shredded chicken or mock chicken (optional)
Salt and pepper
With this recipe, it’s important to have all the ingredients ready before the pasta is finished cooking so you can immediately assemble the dish, using the heat of the pasta to bring it all together.
Wash, chop and otherwise prepare all the vegetables. If using mock chicken, brown in skillet and set aside. Heat olive oil and butter in the skillet. Add onions and garlic and turn heat to medium-low to “sweat” them, stirring occasionally until limp and slightly browned (about 10 mins). In the meantime, using the broth, steam zucchini until they are fork tender. Do NOT drain the leftover broth. Set zucchini aside.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a handful of salt and the bowtie pasta. Cook according to package directions. Drain pasta but reserve 1/2 c. of the pasta water.
In a large mixing bowl, place onion, garlic and chicken. Toss well. Place the goat and cream cheeses in the bowl. Add the drained pasta and then the sorrel and basil. Begin to toss all ingredients together. Add the zucchini and broth. Toss some more. Use reserved pasta water to loosen up the cheese if it doesn’t seem to have enough moisture to form a sauce.
Taste pasta and season accordingly with salt and pepper. Serve hot or cold with fresh tomato on the side.
(serves 4-5 as main dish)