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Penne with Braised Greens and Rutabaga
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    Penne with Braised Greens and Rutabaga

    1) Cut 2 pounds rutabaga into 1.5 inch cubes. Put into a large pot. Add 3 cups water, 1.5 Tablespons butter, 1/4 teaspoon fresh thyme, 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook over high heat until tender; drain any excess water; set aside.

    2) In a large pot, over medium heat, saute 6 slices thickly sliced smoked bacon, julienned, until just barely crisp, remove to paper towel to drain, set aside, and leave just enough bacon grease in the pot to help saute remaing ingredients.

    3) Add 1 onion (your choice of white, red or yellow), peeled and sliced, 1 garlic clove, crushed, and 1 teaspoon (or more, to taste) chile pepper flakes or powder and, over medium heat, saute until onion is just barely translucent.

    4) Add 3=>4 pounds just rinsed mixed greens (collards, mustard, turnip, kale, etc.) trimmed and cut into wide ribbons with the water that clinging to them. Cover pot and cook until greens have just withered down. Uncover and add 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon sugar, and a dozen or so turns of black pepper. Turn heat up to medium-high and partially cover. Cook until greens are just tender, around 15 minutes.

    5) Quickly drain the greens, reserving cooking liquor.

    6) Meanwhile, simulltaneously, in large pot, for ANY amount less than 1 pound of pasta, boil 3 quarts of water and add 1.5 Tablespoons salt per pound of pasta; for 1 pound of pasta, boil 4.5 quarts water, then salt with 1.5 heaping Tablespoons of salt and 1 Tablespoon of oil. (For 1.5 pounds pasta, use 5 quarts water and 2.25 Tablespoons salt and 1 Tablespoon of oil, for 2 pounds pasta, use 5.5 quarts of water and 2 Tablespoons salt and 1 Tablespoon of oil; and NEVER cook more than 2 ponds of pasta in a single pot because you can't stir it well, drain it fast enough, and get it seasoned and coated quickly enough to keep it from sticking together.) Then bring to a re-boil, then dump in 1 pound pasta all at once and stir enough to keep it from sticking together, cover so it will more quickly come to a re-boil and watch so it doesn't boil over, then uncover and and adjust the heat to cook at a lively (but not fierce) boil until the pasta is just (if not homemade, ignore the times on the package) al dente: Keep tasting it until it just begins to loose its stiffness and is tender enough so you can bite through without snapping it, then immediately add a cup of ice-cold water to slow the cooking; turn off the heat, and immediately drain and shake well to rid of water (inside the tubes like penne and the like), put back into pot.
    7) The instant pasta is drained, it should be coated with whatever sauce or else it will stick together in a disastrous, gummy mass.

    8) Immediately add greens and rutabaga to pasta and toss all very gently in the still warm pot.

    9) Immediately taste and reseason if necessary and add greens' liquor if desired to moisten a little more.

    8) Immediately serve 4=>6.

    My notes: I would also think about:
    In step 1), substituting 1.5 inch cubes of turnip cooked in water-thinned milk or cream and/or 1.5 cubes of parsnip for some or all the rutabaga;
    In step 2), subsituting really good smoked sausage for some or all of the bacon;
    In step 3), adding lots more garlic (my taste) but adding all garlic near the end of step 3) so it doesn't get a chance to scorch and turn bitter/burnt and adding any minced vegetables you like to the onion, along with the heat: I really, really like Jim Campbell, Franklin, Indiana's fireman's current grind: 80% Red Savina™, 10% Red Scotch Bonnet, and 10% Dominican red at (317) 736-8281 [Jim, get a plug, suffer calls] or or
    In step 4), the sweetness of the sugar is added to somewhat offset/contrast the bitterness of the greens, so, for more complex flavor I might try 1/2 teaspoon of sugar with 1/4 teaspoon of honey or maple syrup; and, finally, adding a dash or two of balsamic vinegar along with 1/8 teaspoon of dark brown sugar and/or dark rum;
    In step 6) add combinations of oils (your choice) up to around the 1 Tablespoon limit to given a little background flavor.

    For cold, cook the pasta, immediately [I assume "immediately" was (over) emphasized enough] toss it with 1/4 cup olive oil per pound, add a dozen or more sliced, you pit 'em Greek (Kalamata) black olives (some of them finely minced), optional finely minced roasted hot chiles (of your choice) and/or roasted red bell peppers and/or anchovies, chill, and serve garnished with lots of chopped fresh parsley. Enjoy!

    From:Art Pierce,Chile Head Mailing List Via:
    Posted By: Art Pierce,
    Post Date: Mon, 14 Dec 1998



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