Green, green pasta

This is the time of year when I crave green vegetables by the bushel-full.  Kale, broccoli, swiss chard, green beans, spinach – it all sounds good to me.  So when Chlöe asked for Spinach Balls as I was headed to the grocery store this week, this is what came…

Green, Green Pasta

Spinach Balls

They do well if frozen, but do not defrost in the microwave, but rather bring to room temperature or heat in the oven or toaster oven.   Add to Marinara Sauce or cool and refrigerate or freeze.  Makes approximately 48 spinach balls

Spinach Balls:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, (4 T. for spinach balls, 2 T. for green beans, 2 T. to toss with pasta)
1 cup minced onions
2, 16 oz. packages frozen chopped spinach, defrosted
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 eggs
2 cups bread crumbs
1 teaspoon kosher salt
several grinds of fresh black pepper

Green Beans:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
10 ounces green beans, stem ends removed and cut into thirds
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
several grinds of fresh black pepper

1 pound spinach fettuccine
1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese

Spinach Balls:
Preheat oven to 350°.  In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium-high heat.  Add the onions and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and add the rest of the ingredients.  With a small melon baller, form the dough into 1-inch balls and place on a baking sheet.  Bake for 30 minutes.

Green Beans:
In the skillet that you cooked the onions, melt 2 tablespoons of butter and add the green beans, salt and pepper.  Sauté on high heat for 3 to 4 minutes or until the beans begin to brown on the outside, but are still crunchy on the inside.  Remove from heat and set aside until the pasta is done.

Cook the pasta to package instructions in a medium stockpot filled with boiling, salted water.  Stir well when you first add the pasta to the water to prevent the noodles from sticking to each other.  When the noodles still have a insy, tiny dot of white in the center when you cut one in half, they are done.  Drain and transfer to a large serving bowl or platter.  Toss with 2 tablespoons butter and half of the Parmesan.  Top with the green beans and then the spinach balls.  Serve with the other half of the Parmesan as an additional topping.

Serves 6-8

Risotto with Cherry Tomatoes, Green Beans and Basil

All of the seasons are lovely in their own way, but the fall is my favorite, partly because of how beautiful the changes in nature are.  On the other hand, fall is essentially a season of winding down and saying goodbye, really, to the wide-open busyness of summer and this always come with a certain amount of wistfulness for me.  Some of the signs that signal the beginning of the end are visible.  The darkness, of course, comes earlier in the evenings and the constellation Orion is in full view in the morning sky.   My mornings on our Maine windjammer are greeted by a deep darkness, punctuated only by stars and moonlight.  The air is crisp, cleaner, sharper somehow and the colors of ruby and amber are just starting to show amidst the dark green of the evergreens.

One of the dishes that is a favorite of mine when the weather turns cooler is risotto.  This one, however, still has several nods to the summer with the basil, tomato and green beans while still satisfying with it’s heartiness.

Cherry Tomatoes

Risotto with Cherry Tomatoes, Green Beans and Basil

1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup minced onion
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups Arborio rice, short grain white rice
1 cup white wine
7 cups chicken or vegetable stock
3/4 cup grated Parmegiano Regiano cheese
2 cups cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
2 cups fresh green beans, destemed and cut in half lengthwise
2 tablespoons basil

Melt butter in stockpot over medium high heat.  Add minced onion and salt.  When onions are translucent, add rice and stir.  Add the wine and 1/3 of the stock and stir.  Reduce heat to medium low and continue to add water as needed.  It is not necessary to continually stir, just keep coming back to the pot and checking the liquid level occasionally.  When most of the liquid is incorporated, about 20 minutes, add the green beans and the rest of the liquid.  When the rice is al dente, meaning that you can feel the tiniest crunch in the center of the grain, add the cheese, tomatoes and basil.  Serve immediately.

Serves 6 to 8

Chef Annie
Wishing summer lasted a little longer

© 2008 Baggywrinkle Publishing