Jenny Rosenstrach's Back Pocket Pasta recipe is a great way to get dinner on the table really quickly without prepping ahead. I added ground pork for protein and mizuna from this week's CSA box, instead of tossing a salad. It's not the most generous serving of vegetables, but then that isn't the point.
Mizuna is an asian green that belongs to the mustard family, with lots of healthy vitamins: folic acid, vitamin A, vitamin C. It is dark green with curly, almost frothy looking leaves and stiff stalks. I pulled the leaves off the stalks for this one. Almost any type of greens can be substituted for the mizuna, with the exception of collards. Collards would need to be cooked a bit, first.
Just have the ingredients on hand and pull the pork out of the fridge up to one hour ahead of cooking time, to bring it to room temperature. A few minutes on the defrost setting in the microwave will work in a pinch, too.
Back Pocket Pasta with Pork and Mizuna (adapted from Dinner A Love Story p. 78):
This recipe takes about 10 minutes of prep, 15 minutes of cooking time plus time to boil the water.
It feeds 4.
1 lb ground pork
1 bunch mizuna (or other greens like chard, kale, just about anything)
1 lb pasta (I like fresh pappardelle, my kids like tortellini)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 shallots or 1/2 an onion, minced
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup bread crumbs (I grind up stale bread in a coffee grinder reserved for spices)
handful of chopped herbs (parsley, oregano, thyme, cilantro, whatever)
Put a pot of water with a generous pinch of salt on to boil.
Remove the leaves from the mizuna, wash them and chop them. Set the mizuna in the strainer you will drain the pasta in, then the strainer in the sink. The hot water from the pasta will cook the greens just the right amount.
Mince the garlic and shallot, chop the herbs and grind up the bread, if you don't have pre-made bread crumbs.
While the pasta cooks, add 3 Tablespoons of olive oil to a large skillet and sauté the shallot and garlic. When the pasta is ready, reserve about 1/2 cup of the pasta water, then drain the pasta.
Drizzle some of the pasta water into the skillet and swirl with the onions and shallots. Add the cooked pasta to the pan, then the parmesan and mix it all together. Remove the pasta to a bowl.
Wipe out the skillet, add a little bit of olive oil and brown the pork. When it begins to get crisp, add the breadcrumbs and cook until they are crisp, too. Sprinkle the pork and breadcrumbs on top of the pasta and serve.