I recently read a wonderful book, The Season's on Henry's Farm. Literally, it is the story of a year in the life of a small, sustainable, family farm in Central Illinois. Appropriately, the book starts in November and gives a glimpse into the day to day workings of a small producer, the story of the family themselves and their history, recipes and incredible insight into the life cycles of vegetables and herbs.
One of the most interesting tidbits I picked up from the book had to do with greens. In my mind, I think of most greens as a spring and early summer delight, while knowing I will see kale and some of the hardier greens throughout the summer. What I didn't consider is that greens can continue to be grown and harvested into the late fall. The book discussed how the late fall greens are often an overlooked culinary delight. Because of the lateness of the season and cool weather, the flavors of the greens are even more concentrated than in the spring. I guess it makes sense. We know that the most flavorful wine grapes are often grown in stressed conditions to concentrate their flavors, a kind of survival of the fittest.
With this idea in mind I came across a pasta dish using late fall greens on the website 101 Cookbooks that I had to try. I played a bit with her original recipe and was really happy with the results. As an added bonus I threw in some rotisserie chicken pieces for a more wholesome meal that both of us loved. It was also a great way to use up some greens and cheese I had in the fridge.
LATE HARVEST GREENS PASTA
1/2 bunch kale
Equal amount arugula
2 cloves garlic peeledand sliced in half
2 shallots peeled and sliced in half
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup goat cheese
12 oz gluten free rotini (I used gluten free, feel free to substitute your favorite here)
salt and pepper
**optional - chicken
--Bring a large pot of salted water to boil
--Add the garlic and shallots and boil for 2-3 minutes
--Add the kale and cook for another 30 seconds
--Using a slotted spoon remove the garlic, shallots and kale and transfer to a food processor
--Add the oil and cheese and process until smooth. Add a little bit of the pasta water if needed to thin out the sauce
--Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice and set aside
--While the water is still boiling, add the pasta and cook until al dente
--Drain and toss with the green sauce
**optionally, add in some chicken pieces. We had a rotisserie chicken that we added to the dish on the second day that was delicious.