Okay, so having a share in a CSA is a wonderful thing, but sometimes you find yourself in a bit of a jam, where you have too many vegetables that need immediate attention.
Yesterday was one of those nights for me. I had two cubanelle peppers from last week that I wanted to prepare in a pasta sauce with the ripe Nardello pepper from our garden, and I had visions of it being a pepper-centric treatment. But when I got to the farm and started bagging up my pound of rainbow chard for this week, I remembered that I still had a pound from last week. And finally — FINALLY — there were heirloom tomatoes for us woebegone Monday pick-up drones (I do my PYO-ing on Thursdays and I know that they’ve had heirlooms for the previous two weeks, but I’m trying to be a grown-up and not complain too much about this), so of course some of my five pounds of heirloom tomatoes needed to be eaten right then. I decided to test this theory that things that grow at the same time taste good together, and figured I’d put everything I needed to cook that night into this dish.
There are several things that need to be noted at the outset here, certain mitigating factors to the final appearance of this meal. The first is that I’m a total lazy-ass in general, and I’m even moreso on Monday nights. The second is that we had blackberry syrup that needed to be consumed and a bottle of prosecco to mix with it; in other words, I was drinking. So with that in mind, I decided ahead of time to call this meal “CSA Rustica”, and give everything a coarse and, more importantly, uneven chop. It made it feel less like work that way.
So I started with about a half a pound of sweet Italian sausage, browned that up in olive oil, then tossed in the chopped peppers and garlic. I then realized that my pan was freakily dry, and two of my “these are just on the brink of becoming totally disgusting” slicing tomatoes were a bit mealy. So I chucked the diced tomatoes into the pan essentially just to deglaze it, then piled the chopped chard on top.
Only one of the heirloom tomatoes was at critical mass, and it was one of those wonderful, mild, perfect solid yellow ones. It barely needed to be seeded, because it was so fleshy. The flavor and texture on these are so marvelous and delicate that I hate to cook them, so I just diced the tomato up and figured I’d toss it with the pasta and sauce once everything was cooked. While I chopped, the chard cooked down, and my sauce started to look kind of edible, in a rustic kind of way. So I added some roughly chiffonaded basil, and gave it all a stir.
By this point I was pretty well toasted, so I “assembled” this in layers, eagerly taking pictures all along the way. Me + alcohol + camera = Pookie saying, “Why are there 500 shots of that pan of sausage in the camera?”
The bowl started with those little medium-sized shells, then the sauce was poured over (and lots of blurry pictures taken), then everything was topped with the yellow heirloom.
Then the whole thing got a generous grating of Parmesan cheese, and I tossed it all together.
So how did it turn out? Well, either I was really drunk by the time I got around to eating it, or there’s something to this “things that are in season together are delicious together” thing. Because it was awesome. I arrived home from the farm thinking too many veggies are my cross to bear, and finished up dinner thinking about how lucky I am to have such an embarrassment of freshness at my disposal.