herb & yogurt pappardella

January 31, 2014 § Leave a comment

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New England, love it or hate it? This is the dilemma I have been dealing with lately. The temperatures in Boston have been hovering around the teens or below for most of January and no warm air is in sight. I won’t lie; the unbearable chill has made me a bit of an unhappy insider, and has left me blowing my nose about every five minutes. (I have been going through a box of tissues a day, yikes!) The dry, itchy skin, the excessive amounts of lotion, the bright red nose and constantly being bundled up like the Michelin man, are not in New England’s favor right now.

I think I question why we live here every winter. I can deal with December; it’s filled with beautiful white snow and holiday cheer. January is usually bearable, it’s cold, but it’s the first month its actually chilly all the time, so you’re not sick of it yet. February, you start to go a bit crazy. It’s still freezing cold, you have been inside for months and there doesn’t seem to be any end in sight. Oh, and the illnesses that get passed from one person to the next and back to you again, all winter long, are at times unbearable.

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So the question remains, why do we put ourselves through this each year? To be honest, I’m not sure I really know the answer. I don’t participate in winter sports, I no longer ski, and I don’t ice skate or sled. I rarely venture outside when it’s this cold, but hate that I’m trapped in the house all day. Other than enjoying the warmth of a hot cocoa in my hands now and then, I’m not a winter lover.

Something seems to happen each year though, in March, sometimes as late as April, all of a sudden there will be this beautiful, sunny, 60 degree day. And you can’t help but smile and feel that winter was all worth it for a day like this. Everyone rushes from their homes to be outside, filling the parks and bike paths. And then it’s May and you’re buying potted plants and growing fresh herbs, and you think, how lovely is this? Summer rolls in and you gawk at how hot the rest of the U.S. is, while you enjoy mid 70s and 80s. Then fall comes and your days are filled with colorful leaves, apples and pumpkins. And by the time winter comes, you have all but forgotten the winters that came before. You get ready for the holidays and cheer for the first snowfall. And then all of a sudden it’s February again and you’re back to this state of misery, that you had almost completely forgotten.

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It’s a constant cycle that I just can’t seem to get out of. I am still putting up with this year’s New England winter and I am sure there will be many more to bear. I don’t know if I love it or hate it here, but I do know, at the start of February, I could not want more for it to be May.

Serves 4*
Inspired by The Year in Food

8 oz. pappardella noodles
1 cup plain greek yogurt
2 cloves of garlic
2/3 cup fresh basil, lightly chopped
1 tablespoon chives
2 tablespoon fresh rosemary
1/4 cup fresh parsley
zest from one lemon
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 small zucchini, cut into thin strips
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled

Cook the pappardella noodles according to the package directions, typically al dente in 8-10 minutes.

While the pasta is cooking, in a food processor combine the greek yogurt, garlic, 1/3 cup of basil, chives, rosemary, lemon zest, 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt and pepper. Pulse until everything is chopped and combined.

Toast almonds in a small pan over medium heat for just a few minutes until fragrant and slightly browned. Set aside and let cool.

Once pasta is cooked, place in a large bowl and toss with remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and zucchini. Add the creamy yogurt sauce and toss until combined. Top with toasted almonds, the rest of the basil and feta.

*Note: When I tried to cut this in half and make lunch just for two, the herbs didn’t chop up well in my big food processor. So if you decide to make a half portion, give all the herbs a good chop before adding.

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