Lavender Pasta

Friday, September 19, 2008

A few weeks back The New York Times ran a recipe for pasta with lavender in the Minimalist column of the Dining In section. Both my mother and I were instantly curious. So, my mom cooked it as a side dish for one of our meals while I was out in California, and it was good. the flavor is definitely surprising, but it doesn't overwhelm. I'd definitely say this is worth making at least once, just to try something a little unusual. Here's the recipe:
alt and freshly ground black pepper

1 medium-to-large zucchini, trimmed
1 medium carrot, peeled and trimmed
1 red bell pepper, cored
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 or 3 cloves crushed garlic
Several lavender leaves or flowers, or both (or use rosemary)
1 pound cut pasta, like penne or farfalle.

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it. Shred vegetables, using a food processor, grater or knife. Put olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and add garlic. When it starts to brown, stir and add vegetables. Sprinkle them with salt and pepper, add a bit of lavender and cook, stirring occasionally, until they barely soften, just 5 minutes or so.

2. Meanwhile, cook pasta until it is just barely tender, a little less cooked than it would be to serve it. Drain, reserving some cooking water. Add pasta to vegetables and continue to cook, adding water as necessary to keep mixture moist.

3. Taste, and add more lavender to taste; it should be distinctive but not too strong. When pasta and vegetables are tender but not mushy, adjust seasoning for salt and pepper, garnish with a couple of lavender flowers if you have them, and serve.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings.

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