Sunday, February 28, 2010

Penne with Potatoes and Arugula

There are moments when you've realized you've been changed by where you're living ... perhaps without realizing.  One of mine came when I became irrationally frustrated with Smitten Kitchen referring to arugula as rocket.  It's roquette, I kept thinking to myself.  Why is she calling it rocket if she wants to be fancy?  Only after researching did I realize that, no, in anglophone Europe, it is rocket.  Roquette is only the French spelling.  Perhaps that means I've been in Montreal too long.  Perhaps not.  Regardless, I refuse to call it rocket.  It can be arugula or roquette, but not rocket!

This recipe is good without the cheese, but even better with it.  Simple, but delicious.  I started to put in the red onion, but then realized that mine was well passed its prime.  I didn't miss the onion.  I scaled roughly in half (I think) and used whole wheat pasta and baby russet potatoes.

Penne with Potatoes and Arugula (adapted from Smitten Kitchen) (Adapted from Chez Panisse Vegetables)

1/2 pound firm boiling potatoes
About 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
100g arugula
1/2 small red onion, optional
2 cloves of garlic, minced
150g penne or other tubular pasta
1/2 lemon
50g goat cheese or other soft cheese (I used some with garlic and herbs in it)

1. Preheat the oven to 400F. Slice the potatoes about 1/3 inch thick and toss them with a small amount of the olive oil, salt, and pepper (I wasn't reading carefully and just drizzled olive oil on top). Spread them in a single layer in an ovenproof dish or on a baking sheet and roast in the oven until they are golden brown and cooked through, about 20 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, wash the arugula, drain, and set aside. Slice the red onion thin. Mince the garlic. Put a large pot of salter water on to boil for the pasta.
3. When the potatoes are done, remove them from the oven and put the pasta on to boil. Heat a saute pan, add some of olive oil, and saute the sliced onion until it is soft and translucent and starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the arugula and garlic, and saute both until they just begin to wilt and soften. Lower the heat, add the potato slices and rosemary and toss together for a minute or two. When the noodles are done, drain them and add them to the potatoes and onion. Add a squeeze of lemon juice and toss everything together.
4. If using cheese, add the cheese and stir together until melted and coating the pasta and cheese.

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