Sunday, 26 August 2012

Pasta primavera and seasonal eating

I have always thought of "pasta primavera"  (springtime pasta) as a rather exotic dish that should incorporate all kinds of exotic springtime ingredients from the mediterranean region of our planet.   It does,  but all is not what it seems.
The other interesting observation today was that regularly, I gather the produce from my garden that is ready and needing to be picked, for some vegetables don't do well being left to "over cook" and end up less than perfect,  let alone useful.

I always attempt to prepare my dinner from the ingredients that I have in the garden, and today, Pasta primavera was dinner.  Primavera means springtime and that is just about where I am now...  it is early springtime, and that restricts what is available, fresh and perfect, from the garden.

At this time of year, the tomato plants are merely tiny seedlings and last year's tomatoes are running out....  this is all that I have left this year....
... usually I do have more and I will be looking through the freezer to see whether I have any frozen tomatoes left...  there won't be many.  Last summer was more chaotic than usual at my house.

Today I collected what I needed for dinner....  herbs, silver beet leaves, though I only used the smaller newer leaves and leeks....
 ... a half a bowl of flour and two eggs....
.... these made the noodle dough....
... and then the noodles....

 The local (Gawler) olive oil was there to cook the vegetables....

 ... while the "noodle water" heated beside it....
... eventually, the noodles are cooked....

... and dinner was good.....
I grated some Mil-lel cheese (from Mt Gambier.. and the closest that I can find) over it and my dinner was so good!

It was only then that I began to think about "pasta primavera".   With a limited amount of tomato sauce left from last season and with a very different assortment of leafy green vegetables available in the spring of the year, it is obvious that the trendy "pasta primavera" dishes that are served in many restaurants bear little resemblance to the "real thing."  I looked at the images on google for pasta primavera, and while none of these dishes could be mistaken for the tomato rich "spag bol" and other typical Italian pasta dishes, the emphasis on seasonal springtime vegetables that are available during the spring of the year seems to be ignored.
The real significance of that dish "pasta Primavera"  could be so much more important in the scheme of things. It should be a significant environmental issue.  It should be made from those odd leafy greens and herbs that are available during that part of the year when last year's summer preserves are running low and the next summer abundance is not yet available.  The "eating what is in season" crowd have a few more considerations here.




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