Mid Spring: The Beginning of Rhubarb Season

...plus a different kind of pasta primavera.

Pasta & Cake…

Many of you may not know that the name of my blog has not always been “For Love of the Table.” For the first couple of years it was called “A Cooking Life”—which suited me (still suits me, actually) very well. Unfortunately, the name had been taken before I got to it, and I didn’t realize it until I had been blogging for a while. It took some effort to come up with the new name, but I have always been happy with For Love of the Table (which also suits quite well).

At some point shortly after the name change, I remember joking with a friend that I had probably misnamed my blog both times. I was reflecting on the fact that I was in the habit of eating…and consequently posting frequently about…pasta and cake. I don’t think I consume quite as much pasta as I used to, but I still eat cake for breakfast pretty much every day. In light of my habits at the time, I said my blog really should have been called “Pasta & Cake…. Every Day.” (I still think this is a good name.)

This month I have recipes for both of these things for you—a simple spring, “primavera”-style (i.e.—all green) pasta…and a coffeecake (streusel topped and flecked with rhubarb). I don’t know how much cake I will be writing about in future newsletters…but there will undoubtedly be a lot of pasta. Pasta is one of the greatest ways to enjoy the vegetable abundance of each season. And if I am out of ideas and in a hurry to get a meal on the table, pasta is always at the top of my list.

Pasta is also great food for the small household. Dried pasta keeps for a very long time—so you don’t have to rush to use it up (even in my household of one I always have 6 to 10 shapes on hand). It is extremely easy to prepare for just one or two (easier in fact than it is to prepare in large quantities). And it is a fantastic way to use up the odds and ends of ingredients that often accumulate in a small household.

Primavera…with leeks…

Using up odds and ends is how this month’s pasta recipe came about. I had prepared a dinner that required a large quantity of leeks. You can plan on one medium leek yielding about 1 cup of sliced leeks…more or less. The “more or less” part is not a big deal if you are cooking in small, normal quantities. But I had needed sixteen cups of leeks. A little bit more or less than a cup per leek makes a difference at this multiple. So I ended up with some extra leeks.

This was not the end of the world, because leeks—like other onions and root vegetables—are storage vegetables. They will last a long time in the vegetable crisper. I like having them as we move from winter into spring because they are good partners for the foods of both seasons. They are wonderful in rich stews and ragouts…and because they are green, are nice with the typical green vegetables of spring.

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