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Pasta with Broccoli and Asparagus

September 30, 2009

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When I take pictures of food, I’ll take anywhere from two to ten photos without even moving the camera, while I tweak the focus or adjust the exposure time.  This never fails to result in a bunch of pictures that usually look remarkably similar with few distinguishing characteristics. 

This is where Nate and a little game I like to play called “Which do you like better?” come in handy.  The game goes something like this:

Me: “Which do you like better?  This one or this one?” (flipping between two pictures on the computer)

Nate: “Uh…”

Me: “This one or this one?… This one or this one?”

Nate: “Uh…Aren’t they the same?”

Me: “No. The tomato is here in this one and it’s here in this one.” 

Nate: “I don’t know.  They look the same to me.”

Me: “They’re not. Which do you like better?  This one or this one?… This one or this one?”

Nate: “Uh… That one?”

Me: “Okay, good, me too.”

I don’t think Nate is as excited about “Which do you like better?” as I am.  He doesn’t really care as much about the pictures as I do; it’s the food that matters. 

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We had a bunch of vegetables in the fridge, including brocoli and asparagus, that appeared to be on their last legs.  The brocoli was getting a little wilty and the asparagus… well, I won’t go into details.  I had picked up some fresh mozzarella from a vendor of Amish produce at the farmers market, so I decided to throw it all together with some pasta for a quick, tasty weeknight dinner. 

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I thought that perhaps the Amish fresh mozzarella might be better that what I would normally buy, but it wasn’t.  I’ve pretty much given up on fresh mozzarella in the U.S. because it is neveras good as I want it to be.  Even mozzarella di bufala, which costs an arm and a leg and should be the best mozzarella in the world, isn’t all that flavorful in the U.S.  I love myself some cheese, but I’m about ready to give up on fresh mozzarella.  It’s sad, but true.

With preparing this recipe, once you add the pasta and the cheese to the veggies, you don’t want to let it heat up for too long because then the cheese melts.  For some reason, melted cheese clings to other bits of cheese, so I wound up with a huge amalgamation of cheese  instead of bits interspersed throughout the dish.  You may also want to use rotini or penne because they would be easier to stab with a fork than shells.  Shells got a little tedious because they were sliding all over.  Towards the end I held my plate up to my face and just shoveled the pasta in.  I can’t be lady-like all the time. 

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Pasta with Broccoli and Asparagus

1 shallot, chopped

3 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 head of broccoli, florets cut into bite-size pieces

1 large bunch of asparagus, cut into bit-size pieces

2 medium sized balls of fresh mozzarella, cut into bit-size pieces

1 lb of pasta (I used half whole wheat shells, half regular shells)

olive oil

red pepper flakes

Put water in a pot to boil for the pasta.  Cook pasta until al dente.  Sautee shallots and garlic in olive oil in a large skillet for a couple minutes over medium heat; add in brocoli and asparagus and sautee until al dente.  Add in pasta and mozzarella and mix until heated through.

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