At EDF we pride ourselves on making fresh food fast. But how much time does it really take to get dinner on the table? One summer intern, Meg Lappe, feeds her family — and takes notes along the way! Check out her cooking journey in today's Intern in the Kitchen.
Raw Tomato and Green Bean Pasta, July 2013
Among the job perks of working at MSLO, I particularly enjoy receiving the latest issues of each publication. When I started, I devoured the July/August issue of Everyday Food. While it was dedicated to grilling, I was also happy to see a number of recipes that I could make right on the stove (nothing against cooking over coals, it's just a method I can take back to my college dorm room). Tomatoes take center stage during the summer, so it's no wonder they're abundant in so many of recipes, three of which are super seasonal pasta dishes. Since they all looked tasty, I decided to choose the one that appeared to be the simplest and kept the tomatoes raw. After shopping earlier in the week, I had all my ingredients: Orecchiette, green beans, tomatoes, garlic and feta. Up until now, orecchiette was a fancy pasta we only consumed in restaurants, while spaghetti was our standard. The sell date on the green beans was rapidly approaching, but after a quick wash and cut, they started to look perkier. From this ordeal, I learned that instead of buying them prewashed in a bag, I can buy them from the big bowl in the supermarket and pick my own green beans, thus saving money. Not everyone in my family loves vegetables, but since pasta is simple to cook, I just added in extra and set some aside without green beans. Want to know how my adventure turned out? Read about it and watch a video of Sarah Carey's version of this dish in today's Intern in the Kitchen.
8:00 P.M. Dash into the side door and be greeted by Sadie, my 5-year-old golden retriever.
8:01 P.M. I start boiling water for the pasta as I know this will take a few minutes. While this is happening I try to pull out everything else that I need for the recipe and start to cut up the green beans after washing them again. Some parts are starting to go soggy so I get a little worried about how it’ll turn out, but I hope that, once cooked, they’ll be fine.
8:05 P.M. Once the water boils, I add in the pasta. I’m not very good at guesstimating serving sizes for pasta, but using my background knowledge of mac n’ cheese for the kids I babysit, I assume an amount that I hope will suffice for four adults as opposed to five children. Surprisingly, the portions appear to be oddly similar.
8:06 P.M. Let the pasta boil again, turn down the heat, and start cutting up green beans. My mom, dad, and I will all eat them, so I'm using my entire bushel. Then I start in on the tomatoes. My supermarket only carried beef tomatoes, but I figure that, since they sounded similar to the recipe-requested beefsteak variety, they'll work out just as well. They're pretty huge, so I decide to use only 3 tomatoes -- or one tomato per person.
8:10 P.M. I combine the tomatoes with the garlic clove. Instead of mashing the garlic to a paste, which I have tried before and failed at, I use a garlic press and throw in the entire smashed clove. That counts as paste, right? I think so. Next, I toss everything in extra virgin olive oil and red-wine vinegar. I also throw in some salt and pepper, favoring the pepper more than the salt since the feta cheese I'll be adding later is naturally salty.
8:13 P.M. The pasta is just about 3 minutes short of its cook time, so I pour in the green beans and cook for another 3 minutes.
8:16 P.M. Pasta and green beans are done! I pour them into a colander and rinse them with cold water to stop them from cooking-- a trick I learned from my mom. Then I separate out a bowlful of pasta and painstakingly pick out the green beans so that my brother will actually eat this meal. The things we do for those we love!
8:18 P.M. When that's done, I put the pasta back in its original pot and add the tomatoes. I also throw in some feta cheese and dill that was cut from our herb garden. Spices like rosemary and basil are ones that I use quite a bit in cooking and don't hesitate to add more, however, I was a little nervous with dill or mint, simply because I'm not as familiar with them. What if I like dill, but not mint, or vice versa? Luckily, I didn't have to make a decision at all -- our herb garden only has dill!
8:20 P.M. I mix the pasta and let the feta melt a little in the pot, then call everyone to dinner. The sides of more dill and feta are good additions and make the meal easy to be changed depending on each person's tastes. This pasta is so fresh (everyone goes back for seconds), and I plan on having it for lunch tomorrow.