Sunday, June 19, 2011

All This Inspiration is Making me Hungry, For Onions

Fig.1. Colander of Spring goodies: Cucumbers, asparagus, radishes, and of course, green onions (or scallions). All local, all fresh.

I just can't write or say enough about how the Jean Talon Market makes me feel. Each visit makes me anticipate the next: from the visuals to the scents, it's truly an experience that transcends simply "going food shopping for the week". (It shouldn't be a chore people, food is both a part and way of life, and, as such, life itself.)
Quebec strawberries, rhubarb, lettuce (the lettuce alone will change how you approach salads, Homer Simpson was wrong: you can make friends with salad, as long as you buy it from Birri.) Walking through Birri yesterday, I noticed that fresh, local zucchini and flat beans are now available; as well as those bright, beautiful orange zucchini flowers just begging to be eaten.
One could very well walk through a market on a sun soaked day and realize that a life spent absorbing such a phenomenon would not result in a life wasted. Outdoor farmer's markets have the energy and capacity to flourish epiphanies in some; if you haven't been to a farmer's market yet this year, go now and see whether there's a soft spark somewhere inside of you that can ignite an approach toward what and how you eat that you didn't know exisited. (I'm preaching, I know.)

Moving on to onions. Green onions--or scallion--are available both fresh and local as of now at Birri (as well as other vegetable purveyors.) The red and the green variety taste the same. Great grilled, raw in salads, or cooked down and caramelized until sweet. Also awesome of course, in pasta. There's a big surprise coming from me.

Rigatoni With Sausage, Scallions and Olives
Serves 6, (or 1 for 3 to 4 days, taking into account lunch, supper, and snacks)

Fig.2. Yes, it is as good as it looks.


5 to 6 tbsp of olive oil
1-450g- pack rigatoni or penne
2 cups scallions or green onions, chopped (They are not shallots, as most people refer to them as.)
4 sausages or 4 cups of sausage meat removed from their casings
1 cup pitted olives (please don't use those sad canned varieties--too much salt)
1 cup white wine
chili flakes or fresh chopped chillies (optional)
1 cup reserved pasta water


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
Add the olive oil to a large pan set over medium high heat. Add the scallions and the sausage and cook until meat is cooked through, about 12 to15 minutes. Add the olives and cook for an additional 10 to 12 minutes, until the meat and onions begin to caramelize the bottom of the pan. Turn the heat to high and add the wine, deglaze and scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Once the wine has reduced by half, turn the heat down to low. Add the cooked pasta to the sauce, stir well, and let it come together for a couple of minutes. If the pasta seems too dry, add some of the reserved pasta water (Some have asked what I mean by 'pasta water'. I'm referring to the water used to boil the pasta.) Top with some chili flakes or fresh chillies and serve hot.