It was a Mommy and Evan night since Bob had a meeting to go to, and Evan was pretty excited about it. Much as he loves his Daddy, having Mommy to himself is definitely a treat in his eyes! Particularly since work had me traveling a fair bit last year. I’ll take it…I’m sure it won’t last too much longer since he’s seven already. Sigh.
So my imaginative whirlwind of a boy was acting his most grown up and it was lovely to have him sitting at his little kitchen desk doing his homework on his own while I made dinner. Then he set the table and tidied up his toys. O.M.G. I’m sure he’ll be back to normal tomorrow. I couldn’t persuade him to try this dish, so he had his farfalle with pesto instead. Given that he’s usually partial to penne it was nice to see him try out a different shape at least. Then he got into his PJs and we spend the next hour reading Harry Potter 2. Nice.
It is totally worth toasting the pine nuts for this recipe. It doesn’t take long, only 3-5 minutes…any longer and you risk burning them anyway. Just put a bunch in a frying pan on medium high without any butter or oil. Keep an eye on them and shake them every so often. Once they start to darken it will go fast and they will continue to brown once you take the pan off the burner so if they’re the right colour, dump them in to a bowl. Make a bunch and then store them in the fridge and toss them in salads. Yum!
I adapted this recipe from an America’s Test Kitchen 30-Minute Suppers magazine, which called for broccoli and oricchiette (shells), neither of which I had so we ended up with farfalle and snap peas.
It was quite good. Next time I will use broccoli though because the tops of the ‘trees’ are perfect for trapping yummy melted, wine-soaked Parmesan. Basically use equal amounts of sliced onion, mushroom and veg and 1/2 that amount of pine nuts and currants. Use more or less pasta, as you like. Definitely don’t skip the currants…they add a subtle sweetness on top of the wine and garlic that’s fab!
Farfalle with Snap Peas, Pine Nuts and Currants
Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen 30-Minute Suppers, Spring 2011.
1/2 red onion or 1 cup sliced french shallot, sliced thin
1 large/2 med garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/2 cup dried currants
1/3 cup white wine
2/3 cup chicken or vegetable broth
1 box farfalle
1 cup snap peas cut on an angle in small pieces
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Gently toss pine nuts in a frying pan with no oil over med-high heat until slightly darkened. Bring pasta water to a boil and start to cook pasta. You’ll toss in the snap peas to cook with the pasta for the last couple of minutes.
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook onion and mushrooms until softened. Add garlic and pine nuts and cook, stirring frequently, until garlic is fragrant — about 1 minute. Add currants, white wine and broth and simmer for a few minutes until the liquid reduces a bit and the pasta and peas finish cooking.
Drain the pasta and peas and toss them into the skillet along with the Parmesan cheese and salt and pepper to taste. Stir to combine. Serve immediately. Makes quite a bit.