Improvised Pasta Salad


I’m growing quite brave in my kitchen. Whereas before I’d shriek if I so much as missed half an ingredient for a recipe, now I make up my own recipes. Today I came home to found bounty from yesterday’s trip to the farmer’s market (which was an exhausting endeavor—that sun was so blistering hot that when I saw Bill Buford walk past me with several bags, I couldn’t tell if he was a hallucination or the real deal; my air-conditioned, calmer self now tells me it was really him.) On my table upon coming home tonight with my new computer (can I tell you how much I love my new computer? To quote Molly Shannon: I love it, I love it, I love it) there were:

– two ears of corn

– a bunch of beets

– spring onions

– a moldy cucumber

I threw out the moldy cucumber and set on my way. I brought two pots of water to a boil. In the first pot, I added salt, shucked the corn, added the whole cobs, turned off the heat (as Amanda Hesser suggests in her book) and took them out after three minutes. I turned the heat back on and added the pasta. In the other pot, I added a splash of olive oil, salt, some leftover thyme and then the beets. Those I boiled for about 30 minutes, until tender with a knife.

How did this thing come together? Well I drained the pasta after it was done boiling. I added it to a bowl and quickly poured on some olive oil and balsamic vinegar (quickly, because I wanted the hot, hungry pasta to absorb these flavoring agents.) Then I added corn that I cut off the cob, a crumbling of goat cheese I had in my ‘fridge from Coach Farms. Then I took the beet greens and sauteed them in olive oil which was weird because I think I should’ve boiled them first. But in those went and then finally the beets themselves, which I peeled and cubed.

What is this pasta I made? Is this a mess? Do the food gods frown? I’m not sure, but I really enjoyed eating it after letting it cool. (The cooling process allowed me to play with my new computer.) ‘Twas a fun night of innovation and the sort of thing that makes kitchen bravery a worthwhile trait to possess.

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