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Little Big Kitchen: Preserving Green Onion Tops

25 Aug

Last year’s mild winter meant we had green onions in our garden, ready to go, all year long. They kept growing with a vengeance. Green onions, also called scallions or spring onions, are edible from white bulb all the the way to the tips of the stems, but the white and green parts are sometimes treated as two different ingredients as their differing texture requires vastly different cooking times. Occasionally a recipe will call for one part of the onion but not the other.

 

The green part of the onion is more delicate in flavor and structure than the white bulb and to stay fresh require a different method of storage.

The cool temps of the fridge are great for onion tops, but the lack of humidity not so much, so we need to create an environment that is most without being so wet that things get slimy and gross.

The onions that grew in my garden had really, really long tops so I cut them in half, though I did still have to fold the long tops to get it to fit in the bag. If you remember the trick to keeping most cut herbs fresh, you store them directly in water. That would not be good for our green onion top friends. To keep them fresh you need to moisten a paper towel (damp but not dripping) and roll up the tops inside like a soggy burrito. Toss the packets in a plastic bag and you are good to go! They’ll keep handily this way for a few days or so.

Recipe: Tomato, Bacon & Basil Pasta

29 Jul

 

This recipe is really great if you happen to have a couple pounds of garden fresh tomatoes on hand, but is still wonderful with canned, as I used here. My garden isn’t producing anything more than handfuls of marble-sized cherry tomatoes at the moment. Oh, and basil. Basil by the truckloads. I’m finding as many ways to use basil as I can, and I am not complaining. Few things scream summer to me as much as fresh basil and garden tomatoes, but failing that, basil and tomato sauce make a great substitute.

This is a riff on Marcella Hazan‘s classic and simple pasta sauce of tomato, onion and butter. I add basil because it’s so fresh and bright and we have so much of it in the garden right now; garlic, because I can’t get enough garlic; and bacon. I was in the process of cleaning out our fridge and I noticed a package hidden in the back. Isobel has entered her pickiest phase yet, and I wasn’t sure I could get her to participate in dinner and I knew bacon would sweeten the deal. Of course then she caught Anthony’s virus and was too sick to eat much more than broth with rice in it.

Now, this recipe isn’t going to be winning any awards on the health front, but it might not be as bad as it seems. This recipe makes a lot of pasta, so it’s not as if you are eating a stick of butter with bacon in it on your own. It’s distributed throughout. The bacon is drained on paper towels to get rid of excess fat and remain crisp — a nice contrast against the yielding pasta. This recipe made so much pasta I had it for dinner and then Anthony and I ate it as part of our lunch all last week. I still wouldn’t serve it to a heart patient, but the key for us is moderation.

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  •  28 oz (1 lb) crushed canned tomatoes in puree
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • one onion cut into sections, fourths or eighths
  • 1 lb pasta (I used dittalini)
  • 1 package of bacon
  • a handful of fresh basil leaves
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic
  • Parmesan cheese, for sprinkling

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- Add the canned tomatoes, butter, onion, and basil to a saucepan. Add a sprinkling of salt to taste.

- Crush the garlic lightly with the flat side of a knife and turn the heat up to medium high until the mixture comes to a simmer.

- Turn the heat down so that the sauce cooks at a slow simmer for forty five minutes. Toss the garlic before serving.

- While the sauce cooks, snip the bacon up into fourths with scissors and fry it in a pan. Drain on paper towels when cooked.

- About ten minutes before the sauce is done put a large pot of salted water on to boil. Cook the pasta for about seven minutes or until done.

- Drain pasta and put back into the pot along with the tomato sauce. Stir in the bacon, adjust seasonings and serve with a grating of Parmesan cheese if desired.

 

 

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