Monthly Archives: May 2009

Fresh Pasta with Asparagus and Pine Nuts

With the stress of life and the recent lack of time, I haven’t given much time to Yes, We Cook! This is simply due to the lack of actual cooking I’ve had the chance to do.  Well, today I said enough is enough and get back up on the horse.

Some time back we had a discussion regarding fresh pasta.  Well, JT, a fellow writer on the site, introduced me to The Pasta Puttana (Yes, if you are Italian – Gianna – you know what this means) and her freshly made pasta. I picked up a package of the fresh white-wine tagliatelle at the local Chicago market, along with some fresh asparagus, and decided to make a quick meal.

As this way my first experience with Pasta Puttana, and with the fact that this was flavored pasta, I didn’t use my saltwater in the cooking.  I have never cooked fresh pasta before and didn’t know what to expect, but it turns out the actual cook time is VERY short.  Like 1 minutes short. So, I got the water going to a raging boil, dropped in the pasta, and before I knew it was done.

Remembering that the pasta was flavored, I made a quick butter / celery seed / dried oregano mix to drip over the dish.  I simply used 1 teaspoon of butter, added a pinch of each seasoning, and melted together.

For the fresh asparagus, I used the technique previously used in the “Fusion” steak recipe.

  • 1 bunch Fresh Asparagus
  • pinch of garlic powder
  • lemon juice
  • 1 pad of butter
  • freshly crushed black pepper

Cut the asparagus into inch long cuts.  Add enough lemon juice to cover the bottom of the pan, include your pad of butter, and boil the juice for roughly 5 mins.  Your asparagus will turn a nice bright green when it’s ready. Once bright green, take off the flame and drain off remaining lemon juice.  Add the garlic powder and black pepper, mix with the pasta, add pine nuts and you are set.

Let me say, and I’m sad to say, I did not have the camera available for this dish.  So there will be no food porn available.  Sorry.

First off, the fresh pasta by The Pasta Puttana was some of the best pasta I’ve ever had. The white wine was not overbearing in anyway at all. The addition of the butter mix wasn’t even necessary, actually. I did not take away from the pasta but it didn’t add much either.

I love my Lemon Asparagus but it was not appropriate for this dish.  The lemon was too strong for the subtle taste of the white wine pasta. I would suggest simply steaming the asparagus in water.

Bottom line: If you have a local pasta source, give it a try.  If you are in Chicago, contact The Pasta Puttana and get some of her freshly made goods.

Restaurant Review: Mt. Everest Restaurant

Having a taste for Indian Food, and much too lazy to get my butt to the store and shop then actually cook, the wife and I headed out to a recent restaurant discovery – Mt. Everest Restaurant, in Evanston Illinois.  This classy place (dark hardwood bar and what have you) serves both Indian and Napalese dishes, why not go?

I found this location last week as I was searching the intrawebs for alternative locations.  We tried the carry out and, well, we were both underwhelmed.  It wasn’t bad.  It just didn’t match up to our other favorite location.  Having thought about the experience, I realized that carry-out may not have been the best option for a first time visit seeing the transit time would cut down on the “fresh taste”, so a second attempted was in order.

And I am glad we did.

First – The Paneer Pakora (fried cottage cheese) was to DIE for.  There was no oily feel to the Pakora, the taste was very distinctive, very unique and VERY appetizing. The blend of cheese and batter was perfectly balanced which could create a situation where I would just eat this and be satisfied.

My main dish was Chicken Curry – AMAZING.  The sauce was so fresh, and the hint of cilantro kept calling me back for more. One problem I usually have with Chicken Curry dishes is that the pieces of chicken are small and one ends up spending a few bucks on something that really does not provide enough sustenance.  Not the case here.  Everything was perfectly selected.

My main dish number #2 (or side dish) Aool Gobi (cauliflower and potatoes) – Once again, the spice mix was blended to perfection.  Nothing overwhelming, everything inviting for the person who is sitting in front of the dish. While I can see a vegetarian eating this as a main course, it would not be enough for me.

The Naan – Anyone who hasn’t experienced good Naan in life is missing out.  The Naan at Mt. Everest Restaurant is the freshed, perfectly cooked, Naan I’ve ever had.  Often I find that Naan is either over/under cooked, which creates a situation that I am left looking for a good bread with my meal… again, prepared to perfection.  Plus, it was nice and fluffy!

I cannot speak for the Napalese dishes, but if you happen to be in Evanston, Illinois, and are in the mood for outstanding Indian food, this is the place to go.