dimanche 25 mai 2008

Penne with Julienne Vegetables

The last week of May is often cool and rainy then followed by a hot and sunny first week of June. I remember this because it is when the French Open tennis is played at Roland Garros in Paris. For the first time in 9 years I will not be living in Paris or going to watch the action in person. I will not have friends visiting so we can talk about tennis non-stop for two weeks. The live internet video feeds are not available in Germany or Luxembourg and I have no TV so I will not be watching the tennis action (unless I can figure out an alternative). I do, however, have e-mail and Skype access to my friends and we will be sharing our match predictions and other tennis gossip but without the advantage of the usual ‘inside scoop’.

As major tennis fans (and players), we usually go to Roland Garros during the first week to see the newcomers as well as to catch up with our old favourites. We get to see the early surprise upsets. We take this very seriously and plan our activities for every day of the slam – the draw is scrutinized and the order of play matched with our schedule. When our coach could not be in Paris, we would send our updates and get his input on which matches to be sure to see next (and why). We try to get in a match or two ourselves hoping that some of what we have seen rubs off on our own play.

This is also the time I year when I throw the most dinner parties. Some casual ‘drop by after tennis’ ones and more formal ones for days when we are not on-site at Roland Garros. Dinner comes with the understanding that it might be late if there is an interesting match that interrupts the preparation (as when the then unknown Frenchman with the brilliant blue eyes, Marc Gicquel, was playing a couple of years ago – delaying both guests and dinner). Sadly no dinner parties are scheduled for the next two weeks but that could change.

This quick and easy recipe could be made for an after tennis day.

Penne with Julienne Vegetables
Serves 4
30 mL (2 Tbsp) butter
125 mL (1/2 cup) julienne carrots*
125 mL (1/2 cup) julienne zucchini*
125 mL (1/2 cup) green beans, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
125 mL (1/2 cup) frozen small peas
125 mL (1/2 cup) chicken stock
250 mL (1 cup) light cream
60 mL (1/4 cup) Romano cheese, freshly grated (optional)
60 mL (1/4 cup) fresh Italian parsley, chopped (optional)
30 mL (2 Tbsp) fresh dill, chopped
Freshly grated nutmeg
375 g (3/4 lb) penne
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Cook penne in large pot of boiling water until al dente.
Meanwhile melt butter in a large skillet; add carrots, zucchini, green beans and garlic. Cook over medium heat, stirring, for 1 minute. Add peas and stock. Cover and simmer for 2-3 minutes or until vegetables are tender-crisp. Reduce heat to medium-low; stir in cream, Romano, parsley, dill and nutmeg. Cook, stirring, until heated through (do not allow to boil).
Drain penne and add to the sauce; toss to coat well. Serve in warmed pasta bowls. Season with salt and pepper.

*julienne = cut into matchstick shaped pieces

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