It's CSA season again! This is our first year with the UUCC CSA, supplied by the Fellenz Family Farm but in the past, we've been a part of the Fellenz CSA distributed from Geneva, as well as Peacework Farm's CSA based in Newark .
Monday was the first distribution day, delayed from May 19th due the cool spring's effect on the veggies. Typical of the early weeks in the season, we received a share chock-full of greens -- mizuna, tat soi, a lettuce that's name I'm blanking on, wild garlic, and broccoli rabe, plus a few stalks of rhubarb thrown in for good measure.
Along with the greens was a note from our farmer, Andy Fellenz, explaining how things are doing on the farm. (I'm going to have a chance to check things out for myself on Sunday during my farm work shift.) Andy also supplied a fantastic recipe for Pasta with Broccoli Rabe (aka, rapini) and Portobellos. I've altered it only slightly to suit my tastes but the original is a winner -- fresh and bitter broccoli rabb is grounded by the meaty mushroom's flavor and everything is perked up by the addition of garlic, Parmesan and extra virgin olive oil. (I just polished off the last of it for lunch.)
The recipe is easily adaptable: you could swap out the rabe for spinach or another cooking green; use a different kind of mushroom; add more (or less) garlic or flavor things with different herbs; use vegetable broth instead of chicken for an entirely vegetarian meal; or leave out the pasta entirely for a strictly veggie dish.
So whatever variant you choose, head to the local farmers' market, roadside stand or make use of the goodies in your CSA share and get cooking. You won't be disappointed.
Pasta with Broccoli Rabe and Portobello Mushrooms
8 oz whole wheat spaghetti or linguine
2 Tbsp. olive oil
4 medium garlic cloves, minced
8 oz Portobello or cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 lb. broccoli rabe, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 ½ cups reduced sodium chicken or veggie broth, plus more if needed
Salt and pepper to taste
Pinch of dried red pepper flakes
1 to 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
½ cup Parmesan or Pecorino cheese
Cook pasta until al dente, according to package directions.
While pasta is cooking, heat oil in a Dutch oven or large, deep skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring, about 20 seconds, making sure garlic does not brown.
Add mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, until browned and all liquid evaporates. Remove mushrooms from pan and set aside.
Return pan to heat and add broccoli rabe and broth. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until broccoli rabe is tender, about 8 minutes. If needed, add more broth while broccoli rabe cooks.
Add mushrooms and stir. Add salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Adjust seasons to taste; add drained pasta and extra virgin olive oil and toss until heated through. Top with cheese and serve.