We live in the suburbs of Philadelphia in an adorable little town home, nestled in a friendly little neighborhood, where neighbors sit out on their stoops in the evening and you can hear the laughter of children coming from the playground that’s caddy-corner to our home. The grounds are well-kept, and there is such a large variety of trees that we live in a bit of an arboretum. Really, it’s idyllic.
The problem is that living in a town home doesn’t lend itself to gardening, because even though there are beautiful common grounds, I’m relegated to a small patio to make my own. So every year I do some gardening, city-girl style, in pots and hanging baskets. I used to have elaborate arrangements of carrots, onions, brussels sprouts, tomatoes, and more, but more recently I’ve simplified to tomatoes, herbs, and a little strawberry planter for my son’s benefit. I found that I was getting more than enough produce from our CSA, so continuing the little garden was more of an excuse to dig in the dirt, to teach my son about where his food comes from, and mostly about always having fresh herbs on hand.
My favorite potted herb is basil. Store-bought basil inevitably turns into a wilted relic of what basil ought to be. Even the hydroponic basil lacks something that basil freshly picked from the garden offers. It’s early in the season yet, but my baby basil is strong enough to harvest in small quantities. Later this summer I’ll make superfluous quantities of pesto, but for now I’ll start the season with using it to garnish my favorite Italian dishes, and usher in some of the early flavors of summer.
In addition, I love recipes that lighten-up my favorite comfort foods. Pasta in a blush sauce falls into my “favorites” category. There’s something about carbs smothered in cream sauce with a touch of tomato, and a sprinkling of basil that’s so delicious. Today’s recipe for Blushing Rutabaga Noodles cuts out the carb-ful noodles and their oodles of calories. The pasta really isn’t missed because the rutabaga adds a new layer of flavor that pairs wonderfully with a blush sauce and fresh basil.
Blushing Rutabaga Noodles
Prep Time: 20 minutes Cook Time: 15 minutes
- 2 1/2 lbs rutabagas
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 2/3 C diced shallots
- 1/2 C vegetable broth
- 2 15 oz can petite diced tomatoes
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 C heavy cream
- 1/2 C fresh shredded asiago cheese
- 1/2 C toasted pine nuts
- 1/4 C fresh chopped basil
- salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
1. To begin, spiralize your rutabagas using a spiralizer on one of the finer settings, so that you’re mimicking angel hair pasta.
2. In a large skillet that has a lid, over medium heat, saute your diced shallots uncovered in olive oil for 2 minutes. Next add your rutabaga noodles and vegetable broth to the skillet, stir to combine and cover. Continue to cook for 12-15 minutes, or until the rutabaga noodles become soft, more yellow in color, and translucent.
3. While your rutabaga noodles are cooking, prep your remaining ingredients. If your pine nuts are raw, you can toast them in a small skillet over medium heat by stirring them frequently until they are golden brown. I prefer toasting my pine nuts myself instead of buying pretoasted because they have a better texture and flavor.
4. Once the rutabaga noodles have finished cooking, add petite diced tomatoes, and fresh minced garlic to the skillet. Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, or until the tomatoes are heated through and then remove from the heat.
5. To finish the noodles, gently stir in heavy cream. Sprinkle with fresh shredded asiago, toasted pine nuts, and chopped basil. Top with pepper to taste.