Kitchen Garden Lunch: Spaghetti Ortolana

The dog days of summer are upon us.
“When the seas boiled, wine turned sour, Quinto raged in anger, dogs grew mad, and all creatures became languid, causing to man burning fevers, hysterics, and phrensies” according to Brady’s Clavis Calendarium, 1813.

Is it any wonder, when the world feels baked to a crisp, why three showers a day might not be enough, and the urge to howl at the full moon seems like a perfectly good idea, that a walk to our garden, and a chat with friends, seems like a mini-vacation after the torrid heat we’ve endured?
We’ve reached the harvesting point where lunch can be made by just visiting the orto, our kitchen garden. It’s so deliciously easy now, to walk over to the garden, with no plan in mind, just a “let’s see what needs to be eaten” attitude.

For all of us in the northern hemisphere, it is a time of lazy quick meals that taste of summer sunshine.

Here is today’s version of  Spaghetti Ortolano: Spaghetti Ortolana
2-4 ripe, sun warmed vine tomatoes like San Marzano
1 chili pepper of unreliable heat (sometime killer, sometimes sweet, there’s no telling until you cut it open)
1 red Tropea onion (the first of the harvest)
Some fennel fronds, basil and parsley leaves
3 stalks of fresh celery

Not from the garden: a handful of olives, a big spoonful of capers, olive oil, oregano,and a big clove of garlic.

Put the pasta water pot on to boil.
Chop everything up and gently saute the vegetables.
A minute before the pasta is ready, ladle a spoonful of pasta water into the saute pot.
Drain the pasta.
Add it to the saute pot and cook for 1 minute.

Serve immediately with a cold glass of wine and enough time to have a lazy chat with your dining companion.

On Sunday, we’re planning on having our 1st Ever Beet Festival because the beets are ready to be eaten. We are eagerly requesting all music suggestions to accompany the Beet Festival. Tweet us @judithklinger or @jeffaromacucina because our music selection is in need of help!

Buon appetito!


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  1. mitch weinstein on July 17, 2011 at 2:31 pm

    Ummmm – “Beat It” – Michael Jackson. “The Beat Goes On” – Sonny and Cher. “On The Beat” – Elvis Costello. Anything by The “Beatl”es.

    Okay, I’ll stop now.

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