Thursday and I’m working late meaning that there isn’t much time to either think about dinner or make it. It’s in these situations that its easy to reach for the microwave or snack through the contents of the fridge while idly wondering what there is in the fridge to cook. Making great food which is both simple and quick is so much more possible than we think and this combination of spaghetti and summer vegetables is undoubtedly fast and delicious.
I’ll admit that I am helped by the variety of crops which are growing in the garden but you wont find it hard to source anything I’ve used in your local supermarket or farm shop, not to mention that you can substitute anything I’ve used for something which you have (within reason, don’t substitute peas for a grapefruit, it won’t work).
Aside from needing food which is nourishing, satisfying and tasty after coming home from a long day it is truly helpful if the process itself can bring a sense of calm and peace too. Wandering around the garden in the early evening sun picking the bits and pieces which look ready for the pot is much less a chore and more a simple joy. In my little bowl I select a few tiny green beans, a handful or two of peas bulging in their bright green pods, a dozen sorrel leaves, some broad beans and a sprig or two of oregano. I also picked a yellow beetroot, not because I had any intention of using in the recipe but just because I get a thrill from cutting into it and seeing the glowing yellow flesh happily grated into a salad tomorrow.
Back in the kitchen I melt a thick slice of butter in a shallow pan and add both a couple of crushed cloves of wet garlic (wet garlic is young and less pungent but if you don’t have it you can use one clove from a normal bulb) and the chopped leaves from the oregano. After thirty seconds or so I add the podded peas, the podded and peeled broad beans (leaving the skins on the individual beans is what gives the broad bean a bad name so take the trouble to peel them), the french beans cut into pieces and the sorrel leaves. I let them heat through gently in the butter and squeeze half a lemon over it all and add a generous sprinkle of salt.
When the pasta is cooked I add about half a ladle of the cooking liquid to the vegetables and then transfer the drained and hot pasta into the pan with the vegetables, and then serve with more than enough freshly grated parmesan.
While I’ve been lazily cooking my son has been watering the garden. There is something satisfyingly synergistic about me cooking with the fruits of the garden while he tends it to ripen its bountiful gifts. I have seconds, he has thirds and, as the sun sets, all is quite perfect.
350g Spaghetti (yes, we’re greedy)
Handful of podded peas
Handful of podded and peeled broad beans
A dozen green beans cut into pieces
Ten or so sorrel leaves
A crushed clove of garlic or two of wet garlic
A slice of butter weighing around 20g
Two sprigs of oregano leaves
Juice of half a lemon
More parmesan than is strictly necessary