Monday, April 18, 2011

Springtime Spaghetti

I worked in a dining hall in college. You won’t be surprised to hear that most of the food was just not good—mass-produced food rarely is. But there was one dish that I really liked. Loved. So much so that I actually went to the head cook and asked her how she made it. So I scaled down the recipe (hey, no one’s cooking for 150 here) and voila! Springtime spaghetti. (Perfect timing, too; it just started heating up here!)

- 1 box of spaghetti or linguine
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1-2 whole carrots
- fresh dill
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 zucchini
- 1 pint heavy cream
- Parmesan cheese
- salt and pepper

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. While you’re waiting for that, julienne the carrot(s), bell pepper and zucchini. (Note: cucumber also works for this, as I discovered when Matt--aka Boyfriend, he said he doesn't mind if I use his name--accidentally bought the wrong produce. I think I like it better with cucumbers, in fact.) I like to use my mandolin to julienne the carrot and zucchini/cucumber to ensure equal cuts, but I usually do the bell pepper by hand.

Also, chop up your dill. How much you use is up to you; I usually use an entire pre-packaged container from Kroger (minus the stems), which is about a quarter of a cup. Or something like that. I could be entirely wrong. I love dill though, so for me, the more the better.

By now, your pot of water should be hot, but not quite boiling. Grab a very large frying pan and melt the butter in it over medium heat. I usually use more than two tablespoons, but I’m a sucker for butter. I can’t get enough. It’s really not healthy.

Mince the garlic while the butter is melting. I use a knock-off SlapChop that my grandma gave me for Christmas one year. It’s so easy! I wish I had the knife skills to mince garlic evenly by hand, but I'm kind of a klutz. Fake-SlapChop seems safer.

When your water comes to a boil, add a big helping of salt to flavor it. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions, minus a minute or two so it's al dente. Drain it and return to the pot.

While the pasta is cooking, add the garlic to the pan with the butter and sauté for about a minute. Then add the carrots and dill (set a little extra aside for garnishing), sautéing for about three to four minutes. Then add the red pepper and zucchini/cucumber, sautéing for another two or three minutes. Add the cream and let it come up to a simmer (you may need to increase the heat if your pasta is done cooking at this point).

Once the mix is bubbling gently, add the Parmesan. Again, I don’t measure and I love parm, so I use way more than is probably necessary. I’m guessing that about one-third of a cup should do it. Maybe half a cup. Stir everything together, and turn the heat down or off altogether. Then add the pasta and let it finish cooking in the creamy, dilly deliciousness. Garnish with extra dill and Parmesan as desired. Makes enough for about four people.

Best news? This dish is great as leftovers. Just make sure you reheat it relatively soon after you cook it, within a few days, or that cream will get really, really gross. Trust me.

1 comment:

  1. I loved this too! This is one of the few things the dining hall got right. Now where is the mac and cheese recipe...? :)


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