Saturday, May 06, 2006
Brown Rice Pasta with Greens and Mushrooms
Sometime in the early nineties, Israel went through a culinary revolution; gone were the awful salty, processed restaurant dishes always covered by a blanket of cheap, fat cheese. All of a sudden, we all became gourmets. And then came a succession of trendy foods, headed by pasta. One day, everyone knew that we had been cooking our pasta, which we had wrongly called "macaroni", for too long, and it had to be al dente; fresh ingredients were added and eradicated the canned tomato paste regime.
But before we started counting our blessings and saying good riddance to the awful food we'd been eating, we took things to the other extreme; we became finicky, snobbish gourmets, establishing proper rules and regulations for even the simplest comfort foods. Now we're all experts; we know which ingredients are used in which area of Italy, and what wine to serve with our pasta. But - y'know - sometimes you just want to eat a fun bowl of fine noodles, and not obsess about it.
Which is how the following recipe came about. We're both exhausted from numerous work issues and social engagements which, while fun, took a toll on our sleeping and relaxing time. Today we felt like putting our house in order and cleaning it, and having a nice bowl of pasta. Fortunately, I had anticipated this craving and bought fabulous and healthful brown rice pasta.
Attention, all ye celiac folk, gluten-avoiding gents, wheat-intolerant ladies: there is excellent-tasting brown rice pasta out there. And the good people of Tinkyada make it for us. And it's not devastatingly expensive. Naturally, it's always best to actually have brown rice rather than pasta; but this stuff is big fun, and it allows me to enjoy an old favorite without suffering the repercussions (one of these days I'll post some more info about the strange world of sensitivity to wheat). You can make the following recipe with their product, or with any whole grain or white (insert health-freak-shudder here) pasta of your choice. It involves lots and lots of greens, organic crushed tomatoes, sliced champignon mushrooms, lots of herbs, and much garlic. Serves two tired, grumpy folks, and restores their good spirits.
1 package (340 grams, I think) of Tinkyada brown rice pasta - I like the vegetable fusilli
4 cups of coarsely chopped kale, beet greens or Swiss chards
1 cup of organic crushed tomatoes
10 champignon mushrooms, thinly sliced
6 garlic cloves
3 hearty handfuls of chopped basil, parsley, or oregano
Boil about a liter of water in a large pot. While you wait for it to boil, heat up a large wok. When it almost smokes, add chopped garlic. After a minute or two, before the garlic becomes brown, add in the mushrooms. Cook a bit, then add the greens and stir around. Wait for them to slightly wilt, then put in the crushed tomatoes and about 1/2 a glass of water. Then add the herbs. Cook until sauce thickens and the greens' stalks are chewable but not hard.
By now, the water is probably boiling. Add a tablespoon of herb salt and the pasta, stirring often to avoid stickiness. Cook to desired consistency, then drain.
Now, since this is a homey recipe, with no pretensions of authenticity, add the drained pasta to the wok and stir with sauce until it coats the noodles. Put in deep bowls and eat to your heart's content.