Scrambled Pasta & Spring Greens
Finally! The first edible greens of spring have arrived. My withering culinary palette couldn’t be happier. Outside my kitchen door on the deck that will be jammed full of containerized vegetables this summer, a lone container is holding down the fort here in springtime. It’s the container I had a yellow pear tomato, swiss chard and sorrel in last summer. After cleaning up the containers last fall, including pulling out the tomato from this one, I kept it for the swiss chard, figuring there was a chance I could keep it going a little longer into the winter with the container sheltered up against the south side of the house. Wouldn’t you know it; the swiss chard petered out rather quickly but the container stayed put nonetheless since I had no interest in going outside in January.
Over the past three weeks, I’ve watched in delight as the sorrel, awesome zesty green that it is, began poking up green shoots between last year’s dead “stumps”. I could barely restrain myself from snipping them off and munching them right away, but I knew the plants needed to get a little growth on those baby leaves so they could capture the sun’s energy and fuel their resurrection. Good things come to those that wait.
And indeed my patience was rewarded more than I thought. While I waited for the sorrel, a dear friend gifted me with a big bag of mache, or lamb’s lettuce, that she received through her fabulous winter CSA via Jack’s Farm in Pottstown, PA. Mache is still rather uncommon in the States, but it’s a favorite in France due to its nutty flavor and more robust texture than traditional lettuce. It’s tender enough for fresh salad, but it also withstands light cooking, much like arugala. I’ve become such a fan, I plan on growing it in my garden this summer.
So now I had two wonderful spring greens on hand as well as some garlic and a dozen beautiful brown eggs that were also part of my friend’s CSA box from Jack’s (see why she’s the best friend ever?). I remembered seeing an episode on the Food Network some time ago where Giada (I think) made a pasta and egg dish that looked so rustically old-world, it stuck in my head over the years. Looking at all the fresh local goodies on my counter, I decided this was the perfect opportunity to give such a dish a try.
Hearty and filling, Scrambled Pasta & Spring Greens is all that I hoped it would be. The mache really handled the cooking process well and the flavors were incredibly fresh thanks to the sorrel and basil. If you are worried about the cholesteral of the eggs, I’m sure using just the whites would work too. And if you don’t have these exact local greens on hand, try experimenting with others that are available in your area. I’m sure when asparagus season begins, this dish will make its rounds again in my kitchen.
Scrambled Pasta & Spring Greens
A Straight from the Farm Original
½ lb (half the box) spaghetti or linguini, cooked
3 T. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 green bell pepper, sliced thinly
¼ t. crushed red pepper flakes
5 large eggs (or 7 egg whites)
½ C. grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
1 t. kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
2 C. (packed) mache, washed and trimmed
1 C. chopped sorrel
½ C. finely chopped basil leaves*
*I used the frozen basil puree I make each fall and freeze into cubes. One cube, thawed, worked perfectly.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat and sauté the garlic, green pepper and red pepper flakes until the vegetables are tender and just barely starting to brown at the edges. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, parmesan, salt and pepper. If using thawed basil puree, add it to the eggs and whisk well to combine.
Place the cooked pasta, mache and sorrel in the skillet and toss with tongs to get everything combined. Pour over the egg mixture and toss until eggs begin to set up. You may need to scrape the bottom of the skillet with the spatula to lift the eggs up a bit. If using fresh basil, add it soon after the eggs and continue to toss to combine.
When eggs are set to your liking (about 4-5 minutes), remove skillet from heat and serve pasta with extra Parmesan. I also put some goat cheese on it when I had it again the next day. Good reheated gently in the microwave.