Tuesday, May 29, 2007

summer begins

I hope you all had a lovely holiday weekend. For me, the unofficial beginning of summer was ushered in with a glorious series of fêtes from Richmond to Alexandria, including my dear friend G's fabulous garden party celebrating the best of Virginia produce and cuisine. We were treated to a bountiful feast ~ cheese grits casserole with home-grown grits from Stratford Hall, traditional pulled pork b-b-q, dishes chock full of local organic veggies, strawberry shortcake, a selection of Northern Neck wines, and iced sun tea with mint. All presented with Miss G's casually elegant style and flair (Martha has nothing on her!).

Here was my contribution to the feast (several people asked for the recipe, so I thought I would share it with you all):

Pasta Salad with Vegetables and Lemon

1 cup shelled frozen edamame
10 ounces asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 pound pasta (I use a bag of bow-tie pasta)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 shallot, finely chopped
1/3 cup dry white wine
zest of 1 lemon plus 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
2 cups baby arugula
6 ounces yellow grape tomatoes, halved
2 tablespoons grated ricotta salata or pecorino romano
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
freshly ground pepper

1) cook edamame and asparagus in boiling water until just tender, 3-4 minutes. Drain and set aside. 2) Bring large pot of water to boil, add pasta, cook until al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup of cooking liquid, set aside. 3) Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in pasta pot over medium heat. Add shallot and cook, stirring occasionally until translucent. Add wine, bring mixture to a boil. Cook until liquid is reduced by half. Remove from heat and add lemon juice, lemon zest, edamame, asparagus, pasta and 1 cup reserved liquid; sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt. Toss well. 4) When ready to serve, add arugula and tomatoes, cheese, and chives, and toss with remaining salt and pepper (and a little olive oil as necessary).

(adapted from a recipe in Martha Stewart Living, June 2005)

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