Jessica Watts (jessicawatts) wrote,
Jessica Watts
jessicawatts

Back-of-fridge noodles

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This next post is a lovely example of things just coming together. Last friday, with my stomach rumbling, I was browsing the internet trying to think of what to make for supper. As is often the case, I turned to Heidi Swanson's 101 cookbooks for inspiration. Two posts in particular caught my attention, and my supper became of hybrid of the two, tweaked for what I had in the house.

I was craving carbohydrates, so the leftover buckwheat soba noodles in my pantry were definitely going to be a part of the party. A lonely zucchini and some sadly wilted swiss chard that I had purchased with the best intentions both got retrieved from the back of the fridge.

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Garlic, fleur-de-sel and olive oil appeared from the pantry and voilà! I had supper!

Well not quite that quickly, but almost! As the noodles were simmering in a big pot of water I made a thick, fragrant paste out of the garlic, salt and olive oil, putting my mortar and pestle to good use and dreaming of the day I can have a big gorgeous granite one.
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I then quickly washed and tore the chard, and thinly sliced my zucchini with a vegetable peeler. My aim here was to have the thinnest slices possible so that they would cook as quickly as the chard. I added the zucchini and chard to the pasta water for the last few seconds of cooking then dumped it all in a big colander. I poured my garlic paste into the pot I had used to cook the pasta and gave the garlic a golden hue before returning the noodle-vegetable mix to the pot, tossing it with the garlicky oil.

Honestly? This was one of the most satisfying meals I've had in a long time. It was easy to prepare, and its flexibility will suit any garden overabundance you may have at the moment. Have more cherry tomatoes than you know what to do with? Pan fry them and add them to the mix! Almost any vegetable would work. Enjoy the long weekend!

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Recipe - Garlic Soba Noodles
Adapted from two recipes on 101 Cookbooks
Serves 4-6

1/2 lb soba noodles (I like the 100% whole buckwheat noodles, but you can get a combination wheat-buckwheat if you prefer)
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
Fleur-de-sel or other sea salt
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 small bunch swiss chard or kale, washed and torn into manageable sized pieces
1 zucchini, sliced into fine ribbons with a vegetable peeler or very sharp knife
Any other vegetables you have on hand, cooked (optional)
Freshly grated parmesan cheese (optional)

Cook soba noodles as directed on the package, simmer in plenty of water. Meanwhile, crush the minced garlic and a big pinch of fleur-de-sel in a mortar and pestle until you get a rough paste. Add the olive oil and mash together.

When the noodles are almost ready add the chard and zucchini, count to 10, and drain into a colander. Reusing the same pot you used to cook the noodles, heat the garlic paste on medium-high heat until the garlic is nice and golden, stirring often. Return the noodles and vegetables to the pot and toss with garlic paste, reheating the mixture. Add in any other vegetables you want. (ex. pan fried cherry tomatoes, fried eggplant slices, etc...) Place into a large bowl and sprinkle with parmesan cheese, if desired.
Tags: garlic, pasta
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