(from my old blog…)
I've got this idea of making a pesto with the leaves from our nasturtium plants. The flowers and leaves are edible, and both are kind of peppery. No, not kind of, they are peppery.
Anyway, tonight's dinner was sort of an easing into that idea. I figured I'd cut the nasturtiom peppery-ness with the traditional fresh, bright flavor of basil. So, out to the garden with my scissors….I snipped a bunch of basil and several big nasturtium leaves. Brought them inside, rinsed them off, and proceeded to make this dinner:
Couple of handfuls of frozen shrimp, thawed and peeled. (Save the shells in the freezer to make a seafood stock some time.)
Red pepper flakes
About 10 cloves of garlic, peeled, smashed, and minced
A handful of shelled walnuts, finely chopped
About…um…6 big nasturtium leaves, and about 30-40 leaves of fresh basil, assorted sizes
A slug of white wine (mine was a pinot grigio/pinot bianco blend – Luna di Luna, because that is what we had in the fridge)
Freshly grated Parmeggiano-Reggiano cheese to taste
A pound of whole wheat fettucine
Start water boiling in a pot.
While that's working, put about 2 T of butter and about the same amount of olive oil in a pan and warm it to melt the butter. Add the minced garlic to soften.
While the garlic is softening, chop the walnuts. Add them to the garlic, stir, and increase the flame a tiny bit.
Chiffonade the nasturtium and basil leaves: Lay the leaves (do one kind at a time) on top of each other, roll tightly, and then finely slice. They'll be long, thin green strips. Mix the basil and nasturtium leaves together and set aside.
When the water in the pot comes to a boil, throw in some salt and then put in the fettucine.
While the pasta cooks, heat the oil/butter/garlic/walnut mixture so it's bubbling, throw in a slug of wine (probably about 3/4 of a cup) and cook to reduce and burn off some/most/all of the alcohol.
When the liquid has reduced and the mixture doesn't smell so obviously of wine, add your shrimp and coat with the mixture in the pan. Cook slowly, stirring and tossing the shrimp, until they are almost completely cooked. Add the nasturtium and basil, some salt, some red pepper flakes, toss to combine, reduce flame to the lowest setting, and cover with a lid.
Drain the pasta (when it's cooked to your taste).
Uncover the shrimp mixture, grate the cheese onto it, and serve over the pasta.
It was pretty good.
Next time, I'm making a straight pesto with mostly the nasturtiums…just to see how that is.
I'll let you know.