Friday, September 28, 2012

Penne From Heaven: Dead-Easy Ottawa Farmer's Market Recipe

We've been doing some exploring with the Ottawa Farmers' Market, and I invented a new recipe with one of the lovely cheeses from Glengarry Fine Cheese they gave to us. I wasn't strictly requested to make up a recipe, but I had an idea and ran with it; the end result is something incredibly easy but pretty impressive. Since I only started learning to cook about a year ago, I have to say I'm pretty proud of this one. Give it a try.


Blue cheese--we had this lovely hunk from Glengarry Fine Cheese at the Farmers' Market.
Kale--a bunch. I have no idea how to measure kale. I suggest it be totally dry. Ours was fresh from our garden!
Sunflower seeds--a big handful, maybe two. Hulled, unroasted, unsalted.
Penne--we went with whole wheat because, well, that's what I had.
Olive oil

Look at that blue cheese!
1. Boil water and throw in your penne when it's ready to go.

2. While the penne is boiling away, heat a non-stick pan to medium heat. Toss in your sunflower seeds and swoosh 'em around with a spatula for a very brief time. When they start to go toasty-coloured, decide if you like the look of them, then immediately get them out of the pan before they burn. I had to do this step twice because I waited too long and burned the poor darlings.

3. The pan now has a little oil from the sunflower seeds in it, so that's perfect for the kale: I tore the kale up with my hands into bite-size pieces, and just threw it in a big mess into the pan, still on medium heat. Regular flipping and stirring is important. The kale will wilt and crisp a little. When you think it looks tasty, pour it out onto the plate beside the sunflower seeds.

4. Crumble up your blue cheese. I only used about a half-cup, but I bet more would be even tastier. 

5. When the penne is done, drain it and quickly throw it back into the pot. Then quick as a flash, throw the seeds, the kale, and the cheese into the pot, too. The cheese melts and sticks to everything, and the kale and sunflowers get all mixed in. Add a tablespoon (or more, if you want) to the mix to help things be tasty.

OPTIONAL: You can add spices. Since we were exploring the flavour of the blue cheese, we decided not to. But I'm sure some rosemary and maybe some lemon zest would have been fantastic.

OPTION 2: You can toss in some meat if you like, though it's not required. We did add a bit of a Bearbrook Farms kolbassa just to try it out, and it was delicious. (The kolbassa is not to be missed and can also be grabbed at the Ottawa Farmers' Market.)

Serve and enjoy! Because the recipe is so simple, it's easy to make just enough: measure your pasta as you always do, then just put in a serving's worth, per person, of each other ingredient. Simple!

This was so good that I took some to work and fed my vegetarian friend. We both smelled like blue cheese all day and I couldn't have been happier.

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