from a Farm Kitchen
Photo Courtesy of Prairie Wind Family Farm
"In April, we see the spinach planted in fall spring back to life with new growth of textured leaves. We also transplant new spinach plants to enjoy tender baby spinach, so we have a flurry of greens at the farm! Use spinach, rainbow swiss chard or your favorite hearty spring green in these recipes,” says Jen Miller, of Prairie Wind Family Farm, in Grayslake.
Lemon Ricotta Pasta with Spinach
Yields: 4 to 6 servings
4 cups spinach, chopped
8 oz. uncooked spaghetti
1 large shallot, minced
1 Tbsp olive oil
¼ cup ricotta cheese
¼ cup Parmesan Reggiano, grated
Zest from one half lemon
¼ tsp salt, to taste
1 pinch dried red pepper flakes
¼ cup chopped chives
Bring a pot of well-salted water to a boil over high heat. Blanch the spinach for 5 minutes. Remove spinach from water using slotted spoon, squeezing out as much of the water as possible. Chop again and set aside.
Keep the pot of water boiling, and add the spaghetti noodles. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside, retaining about 1 cup of liquid from cooking the noodles.
Sauté shallot in olive oil until soft. Add the spinach and toss well to break up the spinach clumps.
Combine the ricotta and Parmesan cheeses in a small bowl, and add the lemon zest, salt and red pepper flakes. Add to the spinach mixture in the sauté pan and mix well.
Add cooked spaghetti, and some of the pasta water as needed. Garnish with chives and serve warm.
Simple Tomato Florentine Soup
Yields: 4 to 6 servings
1 cup diced yellow onion
1 cup sliced carrot half-moons (about 1 large to 2 medium)
¾ cup diced celery
1 (32 oz.) jar tomato puree
8 cups (2 quarts) vegetable broth
2 handfuls of winter spinach
Freshly grated Parmesan Reggiano for serving
Minced fresh oregano for garnish
Add olive oil to a large Dutch oven or soup pot. Heat over medium, then add the onions, carrots, celery.
Cook for 10 minutes or until tender. Add in the tomato puree and broth, stir and bring to a simmer.
Once bubbling; cover, reduce heat to low. Add in spinach, stir until the spinach has wilted and salt and pepper if needed.
Ladle soup into bowls and top with Parmesan Reggiano, minced oregano and extra freshly ground black pepper.
Recipe courtesy of Jen Miller, of Prairie Wind Family Farm, which grows a wide variety of certified organic vegetables and pasture-raised hens for eggs and provides fresh fruit to CSA members, delivered to north and western suburban locations. Early summer shares start in June. For more information and to sign up for this year’s harvest, visit PrairieWindFamilyFarm.com.