Thursday, July 5, 2012

Gluten Free Spiral Pasta With Basil Cream Sauce

This past fourth of July, like all the rest of them for the last 13 years, we spent it on the St. Lawrence River. Families flock to the River, some cottages hosting as many as four generations. The fourth begins with a flag raising at the Main dock and a flotilla of non-motorized craft, it features strawberry shortcake on the green, and always ends with swatting bugs while trying to take in fireworks over Boldt Castle or watching firework displays on distant islands. 

This summer for the first time, our community decided to offer organic garden plots to its residents. Not quite sure what to expect, I signed up for one, and was amazed to witness the creation of a large block of raised beds, surrounded by pea gravel.

Never having gardened before in a raised bed—all 32 square feet of it—I prepared my soil with a compost mixture and planted nine tomato plants, six broccoli plants, three kinds of peppers, purple and green basil, red onions, bib lettuce, and musk melon. If that sounds like a lot for a small raised bed, you’re right. With near perfect weather, and heat retained by the pea gravel, my plants shot up and flourished. The same tomato plants that I started from seed in Vermont are now four times the size of the ones growing in Vermont.  And my first experiment with melons surprised me--those things grow everywhere. Without something to climb, they started preying on the onions. Imagine trying to climb up an onion!

My first harvest was basil, both purple and green, as well as a hot cherry pepper (which was really tongue-searing hot.) I decided to make a cream basil sauce for our gluten free pasta, and everyone declared it a success.

Gluten Free Spiral Pasta With Basil Cream Sauce

1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
Fresh hot cherry peppers to taste, minced
1 tsp tapioca
1-1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
1 C heavy cream or half-and-half
1/2 C freshly shredded Parmesan
16 ounces GF pasta

1, Melt butter and olive oil.
2. Sauté garlic and hot peppers for 3 min or until just browned.
3. Stir in tapioca--it will be slightly pasty.
4. Reduce heat very low.
5. Add cream and stir until blended, and it begins to thicken.
6. Add Parmesan and stir until melted and sauce is smooth.
7. Meanwhile, begin boiling pasta (I prefer Tinkyada)
despite what the package says, I find that the spirals are perfect at 8 minutes.
8. Two minutes before the pasta is done, stir in the fresh, chopped basil.
9. Toss sauce and pasta and serve.