A few weeks ago I was back in Toronto visiting my Mom. We visited my best friends cottage, we spent an absorbanant amount of money on Quebec cheese, and we walked around the city. It was a wonderful trip, and a much needed bought of relaxation.
An old friend of mine, Andrew, came over and we made dinner and hung out with my mom and her boyfriend, John. When we left the house to go grab a drink down the street we both turned to each other and said, almost at the exact same time “I hope I’m that when I’m a real grown up”.
Don’t get me wrong, they have their hardships like everyone else, obviously, but there is something wonderful about the way they live. My mom walks to work everyday, John plugs away at his PhD in the study, (as one of her friends put it to me “leave it to your mother to find a 60 year old student!) they live in this beautiful house, and eat gorgeous food. They seem to live really great lives.
My mom is also a fabulous cook, so when I visit most of our time is either spent in her wonderful neighbourhood shopping for ingredients or in the kitchen. We spend a lot of time in the kitchen.
My mom cooks tons of vegetables. Tons. It’s one of the most wonderful things about the way she cooks actually. She is teeny tiny, and eats lots of cheese and pasta and delicious things, but she also eats more veggies that probably anyone else I know. There is always a salad with dinner, but beyond that, she just puts more vegetables in everything. Almost anything cooked gets a bag of arugula, or spinach, or pea shoots wilted into it.
This is a great example of that for me. Just a simple pasta of sauteed ramps, and mushrooms, with a handful of parm and a sprinkling of parsley, thyme and basil. And then a huge bag of arugula wilted into it. Don’t get me wrong, I wilt greens into my pastas all the time, but she just adds so much more than I normally would. And it results in something wonderful, something sharp and bit bitter, but mostly just more flavourful.
1 box Pasta
1 bunch Ramps, or Wild Leeks, or Traditional leeks, cleaned and sliced on a bias
2 cloves Garlic, minced
3 cups Cremini Mushrooms, sliced thinly
1/2 cup Freshly Grated Parmesan, or Grano Padano
8 cups Baby Arugula
1/4 cup Parsley, chopped
3 tbsp Basil, chopped
2 tbsp Thyme, chopped.
Salt and Pepper
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt generously and cook the pasta to the directions on the box. Strain.
Meanwhile, on medium high heat warm up a good glug of olive oil.
Sautee the leaks for about 3 minutes. Add in the mushrooms and cook until starting to caramelize, about another 5 minutes.
Clear a small spot in the middle of the pan and add in another splash of olive oil.
Cook garlic for about a minute until it is fragrant but not browning.
Mix in the leeks and the mushrooms.
Add in the pasta, herbs, and cheese and then toss in the arugula so that it starts to wilt but isn’t soggy. Season liberally with salt and pepper.