“Eat your greens!” people like to say. They’re right — you should. Mostly because they’re tasty (inexpensively so) and because they’re good for you. Usually people mean dark leafy veggies like spinach and kale when they say “greens.” But what about the other, untapped greens that are even more likely to be growing just outside your door or on your windowsill at this time of year? I’m talking green herbs: basil, parsley, chives, oregano, dill, marjoram, etc. They’re all green, too, and several are quite leafy. And they all taste great when you toss them with whole-grain pasta.
Toss in a little pastured butter or extra-virgin olive oil, and you have a guaranteed winner. Or use an unrefined nut oil like walnut or pecan — those pair well with herbs and give the dish an extra kick of flavor. I opted for ultra-creamy buffalo milk butter that I lucked out and spotted loitering on the shelf of a local grocery store. (That would be Holiday Market for those of you in the Detroit area.) If I’d had a jar of cream — I get it directly from a local farmer, and yes, it comes in a jar — in my fridge at the time, I probably would have stirred in a bit of that, too. But my buffalo butter was a lovely partner for the fresh herbs.
Herb Garden Pasta
Cook a pot of your favorite whole-grain pasta (be sure to choose gluten-free pasta if you’re making a gluten-free dish) according to the directions on the package. While the pasta simmers, find a nice unrefined oil (olive and non-peanut oils are great choices) or butter (preferably made with cream from grass-fed cows). Chop a handful of your favorite/most convenient fresh herbs. I included basil, chives, oregano, marjoram, and rosemary, but nearly any herb will do. Even a leaf or two of mint would add an intriguing touch. Drain pasta well and toss with oil/butter and chopped herbs. Season to taste with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper. Feel free to expand on your herbed base by adding more veggies, grated cheese, cooked meats or seafood, or nuts and seeds.
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