My favorite local Farmers’ Market is on the Village Green, in Clinton NY. The town itself is charming with old brick buildings and a smattering of cute shops and restaurants claiming space on the main street (Park Row). The area is also home to Hamilton College, so to me at least, the vibe there always feels a little bit younger and more up-to-date than some of the surrounding areas.
Comparatively speaking (again), the market itself is large and has a nice mix of vendors. There are certain items that I always leave with, including a bouquet of flowers, leafy greens, fresh mushrooms (The texture and flavor is so much better, straight “off the log”, as they are sold.) and lots of cruciferous vegetables. The latter mainly because they’re more difficult to grow in the small space that is my current garden and because Sneaks loves them too. I am pretty sure he would be happy to eat broccoli every single day if I let that happen. I suppose there could be many worse things for him to love.
So it goes like that; most of the broccoli is mixed into my sweet pup’s food. Handfuls of greens become my morning smoothies, or get tossed into more or less everything else. Brussels sprouts are shaved into salads, usually either with apples and candied nuts, or a mix of citrus and fennel, both with a shallot dressing. Those are some of my favorite combos. If I had my druthers, the cauliflower would always be made Buffalo-style and dunked in homemade extra chive-y ranch dressing.
And then there are the scraps. This recipe was born from those little forgotten pieces. A bag of shiitakes that had accidentally been pushed to the back of the refrigerator, leftover green things, a splash of cream, garlic and herbs, and a few slivers of the preserved lemons I made here. Plus pasta. Always pasta.
I’ve made this so many times now that I’ve discovered endless variations on the original. Please know that lemon zest works just as well here as the preserved lemons do (I understand that they’re kind of fussy, but would encourage you to try them if you feel so inclined. They really do brighten up anything and everything!). I like orecchiette best for the way that the “hat” soaks up the sauce, but use any shape that strikes your fancy; whole wheat noodles (linguine, spaghetti, etc.) are excellent choices too. If you’d like to omit the cream, use a glug of olive oil as the base of the sauce, add the remaining ingredients, and a bit of pasta water to gel everything together. If I were you, I’d keep it though!
- 12-ounces dried orecchiette pasta
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 8-ounces shiitake mushrooms, cleaned and chopped (about 2 cups chopped)
- 1 medium-size head broccoli, chopped into bite-size pieces
- ½ teaspoon Herbs de Provence
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- Pinch red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest OR chopped preserved lemon
- 1 cup heavy cream
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Cook the pasta according to package directions. Reserve about ½ cup of the cooking liquid, and set aside.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the broccoli, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and the Herbs de Provence on the baking sheet and toss to coat. Broil under high heat for approximately 3-5 minutes, just until the broccoli is bright green and tender, and the tips are starting to brown.
- Meanwhile, add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil to a skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms to the pan, and brown, stirring occasionally, until all of their water has evaporated. Add the garlic cloves, red pepper flakes, and lemon to the pan and cook for an additional minute. Reduce the heat to medium and stir in the cream. Heat just until warmed through. Once the cream is warm, gradually whisk in the Parmesan cheese. Add the pasta and broccoli and toss to combine. If the sauce is too thick, add spoonfuls of the reserved pasta water until you reach the desired consistency. Serve with additional Parmesan cheese.