Monday, May 18, 2009

Aparagus & Tomato Pasta, Three Thai Dishes


There has been some lovely asparagus in the market lately, both the green kind and the purple. Being a little conservative for colour for this dish, I chose the green and teamed it with some lovely little grape tomatoes, basil, and green onions to mix with baby shell pasta. It was so good.

The recipe is just about what I've said above:

Shell pasta for two persons (I use about 100-120 grams or 3-4 ounces)
1 slice of onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 lb. fresh asparagus, cut into 1-1/2 inch pieces
1/2 lb. grape tomatoes, halved
pinch of crushed chiles - or to taste
salt and pepper to taste
half a bunch of fresh basil, lightly chopped
2 green/spring onions, chopped
basil sprigs for garnish

While the pasta water is coming to the boil and the pasta is cooking (according to package instructions), put the onion and garlic in a little water in a skillet (large enough to contain all the ingredients in the recipe) and cook until soft.

Add the asparagus, tomatoes and chopped basil with the seasonings and stir over medium-high heat until the tomato skins start to look as if they are loosening up a little. Stop there. Don't overcook. If the pasta is not ready, remove the vegetables from the heat until the pasta is done.

Drain the pasta and add to the vegetables in the skillet, toss them together and return to the heat if necessary for a moment or two to make sure everything is heated through. Remove from heat, stir in the green onions and transfer the pasta to a warmed serving dish. Garnish.

It doesn't get much simpler than that :)


I've also been playing around at making more Thai food - we both love it! This one in the photo above is EGGPLANT WITH BASIL. I usually like to add a little cubed tofu to this dish as well as the red bell pepper.

And this one . . .

. . . is a SWEET POTATO AND POTATO COCONUT CURRY. Tofu goes nicely in this one too.

And then there was the day I made (dah-dah dah-dah!) . . .

TOM YUM SOUP! This was my first time of making it, and I think I got a little carried away, putting in enough vegetables and tofu to make it into something approaching a stew rather than a soup. That is, however, easily corrected.

These dishes are keepers here. Actually, we love Thai spices and like to flavour all kinds of things with them. My problem, however, is being able to get fresh kaffir lime leaves (although I keep a good supply of dried ones up the cupboard) and fresh lemon grass, not to mention fresh Thai basil, which is so important to the taste. It's a bore to have to substitute other things :(

Now that spring is here I'm looking to more and more lovely vegetables to put into my stir 'fries' and curries. I remind myself that they have snow out west!