Tatsoi Carbonara

Photo and Recipe by Tod Dimmick

This essentially vegetarian pasta dish uses orecchiette because the shape matches the rough size of chopped vegetables... oh, all right, and because  I like the sound of "orecchiette".

Prep time:  10 minutes
Cook time:  20-25 minutes
Serves:   6 plus high probability of leftovers

1 lb whole wheat pasta, your favorite shape
3 TB olive oil
1 TB butter
2 shallots, minced
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 bunch tatsoi, cleaned, stems separated from leaves, coarsely chopped
1 tsp. lemon grass (optional)
1 egg
1 large tomato, chopped
10-12 basil leaves, chopped
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan
2 TB olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook the pasta per package directions to an al dente texture.

While water is heating, melt the butter with the olive oil in a saute pan or skillet over medium heat and saute the shallots and garlic for 3-4 minutes, stirring.  Add the tatsoi stems and saute for another 7 minutes, then add the tatsoi greens and the lemon grass if using, cover, and cook for 3 minutes or until greens wilt.

When pasta is done, quickly drain and and return it to the cooking pot or place in a large bowl.  Add the egg and stir (the hot pasta will cook the egg).  Add the greens, tomato, basil, and Parmesan and combine.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve with a glass of rose and, even if it's February it will feel like a summer night.

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