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pasta

Last week’s Grant Farms CSA box included dill and parsley, along with a bunch of other green and red goodies (see past two beet recipes). This post will focus on the herbs. I’ll be brief and spare you the geeky details. I almost promise. However, my enthusiasm for the healing power of food might trump your eye rolling (I have a Mac with spy capabilities, I know when you’re making faces).

Dill — has a clean, faint lemony smell and taste to it; with a hint of anise or fennel. Freezing preserves the flavor better than drying, but either work well. You can freeze dill whole in a plastic bag and cut off little sprigs as needed. Add dill at the end of cooking as it loses its flavor if overcooked (thanks chef Miles). Dill goes well with beets (yeah), cucumber, tomatoes, potatoes, fish and seafood, rice, egg salad, spinach, zucchini, carrots, cauliflower, celery root, cabbage, salad dressings.

Nutritional profile of dill
The volatile oils in dill make it a “chemoprotective” herb. It helps neutralize certain carcinogens (cancer causing agents). It’s also a good source of calcium and iron. Calcium? Surprise, surprise.

Parsley – is a bit like dill, but with a tangy hint of pepper. It’s one of the most versatile herbs and is essential to several flavoring mixtures (French bouquet garnis, fines herbes, salsa verde, tabbouleh). It combines well with basil, bay, capers, garlic, marjoram, oregano, rosemary, tarragon and can be used with most vegetables. I love it with tomatoes, rice and fish.

Nutritional profile of parsley
This one’s a nutritional powerhouse. Seriously, don’t take it for granted and don’t leave that parsley garnish on your plate. Eat it! It’s an excellent source of vitamins K, C, and A, is a good source of folate and iron, and its volatile oils put it in the same chemoprotective category as dill.

Fresh parsley, dill and tomato pasta
what you need
4 large tomatoes, diced
3 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped
2 – 3 tablespoons Vidalia onions (or green onions), finely diced
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 tablespoon dill, finely chopped
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon honey Dijon mustard (I use Annie’s Naturals, it’s gluten-free)
sea salt and fresh ground pepper
12 ounces pasta (I use Tinkyada organic brown rice spaghetti style pasta)

what you do
Combine olive oil and honey Dijon mustard in medium sized bowl. Whisk until well blended. Add the rest of the ingredients with the exception of the pasta and the salt and pepper. Blend well and let sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. When ready to serve, add the salt and pepper and toss with prepared hot pasta. Makes about 4 servings. This can also be made into a cold pasta salad.

I had some leftovers, which I refrigerated and served the next night (reheated) over a big plate of the fresh leaf lettuce from the CSA delivery box. It sounds weird, but it was delicious!

Go forth and hug your CSA farmers.
Melissa

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15 Responses to “parsley, dill and tomato pasta”

  1. greedydave says:

    Yum, Melissa,

    As honest (and tasty) a plate of food as you’re ever likely to see. We Northern Europeans don’t get the best tomatoes but I bought some Isle of Wight tommy toes yesterday (about as far south as our British Isles go) so hopefully they’ll be up to standard.

    Something that did stand out for me was your use of the word ‘volatile.’ I’ve been coming across the concept of food volatiles increasingly recently, and although I’ve never played with the idea myself, I’d be interested to know where you pitch your tent. An example; the closer to the core ingredient in this diagram, the more likely the food pairing, based entirely on the common volatiles. I’ll give you your dill as a taster.

    http://www.foodpairing.be/FoodPairable.aspx?f=Dill

    It all seems a bit whacky to me. Dill and green tea white chocolate?… Yummy!

    GDave

  2. Miles says:

    Melissa,
    Sounds like a really nice recipe, wish I’d seen it last night before I cooked pasta for my tea!
    Whilst I’m not usually an advocate of dried herbs I do sometimes use dried dill in German style vinaigrettes or Moroccan herb mixes such as sabiz gormeh, using fresh doesn’t have the same effect.

    Miles

  3. I’m not a dill fan, but I’m with you on the parsley. This seems like a terrific dish to me—even its reincarnation. :-)

    I’m speaking at the grand opening/community appreciation day for our new local farmers market on Saturday. How exciting AND scary is that? Tons of cool demos/activities are planned. I’ll be one of many speakers and our group will have a table and handouts. The 4-H group will be selling gluten-free goodies as part of its offering as one of our families participates in that. We’ll most likely have some at our table, too. Good stuff! CSAs and local farmers markets (all sold at our market has to be grown in our county) rock!

    Shirley

  4. Melissa says:

    GDave — I’ll be back later to respond to this. Interesting stuff in that link! No time right now to comment, but I have some thoughts on that.

    Hmmm?

  5. Melissa says:

    Miles,

    You’re such a warehouse of knowledge. I love it! Thanks, as always, I appreciate your input, tips and suggestions.

  6. Melissa says:

    Shirley,

    Yes, dill definitely has a taste of its own. You either like it or you don’t. It can become overpowering, as can most herbs really.

    Wow, I love it that you’re speaking at the Farmer’s Market. Good for you. I’m a huge advocate that people with celiac or gluten intolerance join a CSA or shop at the farmer’s market. It’s so much healthier and easier not to read labels! I can’t wait to hear how it turns out. Wish you weren’t so far away. We could be a good team!

    :-)

  7. Cid says:

    Melissa and GDave,

    I like Dill and Fennel, plus they are both attractive plants to have in the garden.
    Another excellent recipe Melissa… you’re being quite prolific at the moment! On the pasta front I have sinned today… yes, I finally gave in and bought an all singing and dancing Italian pasta stand for drying my pasta. I know I said I wouldn’t do it but my wooden stick and two cornflake boxes were limiting my imagination :) It stood in the window of one of my favourite cook shops looking seductive and at a weak moment I succombed to it’s charms. On the bright side though it will hold a lot more pasta and it does fold away neatly in an Italian designerish sort of way :)

    Loved the input from GDave … lots of food for thought there. I book marked it for further consideration. What a fabulous site this is.

    Cid

  8. Melissa says:

    Cid,

    I’ve never grown either, but I do like both. In small doses.

    Wow — a singing and dancing Italian pasta holder? Is he handsome? You did mention seductive. Hmmm?

    Yes, I need to get back to GDave’s comment. I went to the website, but have been so busy lately, I haven’t had much time to check it out. I will though. You’re right, lots of “food” for thought.

    Thanks, Cid. And now you even have fans here. Shirley mentioned you on a prior post!

    :-)

  9. I am going to try this recipe. I have been pondering other ways to prepare a tomato dish. I usually sauté onions, tomatoes and then add basil and other seasonings.

  10. CoconutGal says:

    Melissa- Please never spare us of the “the geeky details”– I LOVE learning everything and anything about food and it’s health benefits. Please geek away! This recipe sounds fabulouso and delicious! By the way, I always serve leftovers on top of greens, it just works!

    GDave- what a cool website you’ve linked! This is awesome! Time to do some exploring.

  11. Melissa says:

    Heather,

    Basil, while the obvious choice with tomatoes, is also my absolute favorite. I like basil much better than dill, but I got a bunch of dill in my CSA box, so I’m looking for good ways to use it. I like it in very small doses.

    :-)

  12. Melissa says:

    Coco,

    Geek away! I love that. Yes, leftovers like pasta, rice, beans, etc., are great over greens.

    I played with GDave’s link, too, but am wondering if you have to sign up or become a member or something. I need to set aside a half-hour and really explore that site. It’s very cool. GDave is full of good ideas and links. Check out his website. He just got it up and running. He’s a fun guy.

  13. Thanks so much for the kind words! It would be fun to have you on my education team. :-) We’ll just have to consider ourselves a national one. I’m an Eastern rep and you’re a Western rep. ;-)

    And, I agreen with CoconutGal, part of the reason I come here is to hear all the geeky stuff! xo

    Shirley

  14. Melissa says:

    Shirley,

    Sounds good to me! Yes, we could be the gluten-free geek girls.

    :-)

  15. Great recipe – thanks for the suggestion.

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