Hi! For all my fellow herb garden enthusiasts, this one is for you. The picture you see at the left is of my little lemon thyme plant. Yesterday, pondering what to do with an abundance of celery, I was inspired by a recipe from a new cookbook titled “Eating Well serves two” by Jim Romanoff and the test kitchens of EatingWell. The original recipe featured another vegetable as the main attraction, but having all this celery, I went with the premise and created this….
Lemony Thyme Penne with Celery
4 cups penne pasta
1 head celery, trimmed and cut on a diagonal slant
1 cup milk
2 Tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons Coarse Ground Mustard
2 Tablespoons flour
1/8 teaspoon salt – at least, more to taste over serving
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper – at least, more to taste over serving
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 heaping Tablespoons minced garlic ( I used mine from a jar)
2 Tablespoon fresh lemon thyme leaves
2 Tablespoons of minced celery leaves
5 whole sprigs of lemon thyme
1 teaspoon minced fresh tarragon (do not add during cooking process)
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided
First, wash the celery, and trim the tops and bottoms off. Next, slice the trimmed celery stalks at a diagonal – about 1/8 inch wide. Using the remaining celery leaves, mince to add later. Set aside.
Fill a large cooking pot a little more than half full with water. Rinse the whole sprigs of lemon thyme off and drop them in the water. Drizzle a little olive oil over the water and add a pinch of salt. Set the heat on high and bring the pot to a boil.
When the water has reached a boil, stir the sprigs back and forth a few times. This will cause most of the leaves to release, and the water will turn a bit green. At this point remove the stems, and discard. Add the penne and cook until tender.
About 2 minutes before you are ready to remove the pot from the heat and drain, add the celery. Do not cook more than 2 minutes, or the celery will be too soft.
At the 2 minute mark, remove pot from heat and dump all into a colander to drain. Once the pasta/celery mixture has drained, return it to the pot and set aside.
Next, whisk milk, mustard, flour and salt in a medium bowl.
Then, heat oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant and lightly browned – about 30 seconds to 1 minute.
Then, drop the butter over the garlic and then pour in the milk mixture, whisking constantly. Bring to a simmer, still whisking, and cook until slightly thickened, about 1 to 2 minutes.
Next, top the cooked and drained pasta with the fresh lemon thyme leaves and the minced celery leaves. Pour the sauce over the leaves and pasta, grate the pepper over the sauce and then stir over medium heat.
Cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce is thick, creamy and coats the pasta. Then, stir ¾ cup of the Parmesan into the pasta until combined.
Lastly, sprinkle just a pinch of the fresh minced tarragon over the individual servings. Tarragon can be very overpowering, so just a pinch as a finishing will add dimension. Also, over the individual serving, grate additional pepper and salt to taste, then sprinkle the reserved Parmesan and top with a sprig of thyme, or celery leaf stem as a garnish.
See my link for Herb Garden:http://over300cookbooks.blogspot.com/2011/06/herb-garden.html
Link for the cookbook: