Farmhouse Pasta; The Allure of the Forbidden

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What is it about the hidden things that make them so appealing?

Something that's forbidden must be better than something that isn't.

And something that is both hidden and forbidden, well, that is simply an invitation!

My mother, so practical about many things, couldn't grasp this.

Every Christmas she baked 6 or 7 different kinds of Christmas cookies, some, in the opinion of her children, were better than others.

She made popcorn balls, her personal favorite holiday treat.

And she made candy: hard Anise Candy, fluffy Divinity and gooey, chocolaty Fudge. 

She left the least favorite cookies in plain sight, filled candy jars with the anise candy and placed wooden bowls full of popcorn balls on the side board. 
We could, with permission, eat any and all of these. 
Within reason, permission was always granted.

She hid the Fudge.

There was never any fudge on Christmas.

My older brother had a nose for Fudge that was truly amazing.  Regardless of where she hid it he found it within a day.  He never got caught.

I watched him to see where it was, then I would move in for a piece.  I always got caught. 

Then my mother would re-hide the fudge.

And we'd start all over again.

She should have left the fudge out and hidden those awful, sweet, sugary Spritz cookies.

But they'd probably still be there…the allure of the forbidden can only do so much!

There usually weren't many Double Chocolate Snowdrops left for Christmas either…but, for some obscure reason, I never got caught pilfering those!

Then there are the foods that lure us in because they are pretty, beautiful, visually appealing…
This isn't one of those. 

I have wanted to post this recipe for awhile.  It's one of our favorite pastas! 

It's easy to make, can expand to feed a crowd and is full of healthy stuff.

The flavor is fantastic, leftovers keep well and can be reheated  in the micro.

It's just, well, not very attractive. 

I fiddled and fussed and this was the best I could do.

You'll just have to trust me:  This is really, really good!

FarmhouseMy submission for this week's Presto Pasta Nights, founded and hosted by the lovely Ruth, of Once Upon A Feast is Farmhouse Pasta.   Visit her blog on Friday for the recap of pasta from around the world.

The recipe is based on one I found ages ago in 'The Book of Sauces'. The original recipe said to thaw the spinach and squeeze dry…then add water. That didn't seem very logical to me so I put the spinach in frozen. The sauce is meant to be very thick – add more water as desired.

Farmhouse Pasta

1 small onion 
1 clove garlic
4 oz mushrooms (125 gr)
1 tbs olive oil
1 package frozen spinach 9 oz (250 gr)
4 – 6 slices (4oz, 125gr) Prosciutto, Serrano or other dry-cured ham or beef
4 tbs tomato paste, 1 small can
1 – 3 tbs water
1 little box chevre (goat cheese) – the little cartons of creamy goat cheese, 5 oz (150 gr) (Chavrie in U.S. Chevraux in France)
spaghetti or fettuccine, preferably fresh, 9 oz, (250 gr)Farmhouse2

Cook pasta according to package instructions. While waiting for the water to boil, prepare sauce:
Clean mushrooms.  Chop onions, mushrooms and ham.  Mince garlic.  Heat oil in medium non-stick skillet over medium heat.  Add onions, garlic, mushrooms and ham.  Sauté for 5 minutes.  Add tomato paste and spinach and 1 tbs water, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.  Mind the spinach so that it thaws.  If sauce start to dry out add more water.  Add goat cheese and stir until it melts.  Toss with pasta and serve immediately.

I plan on doing an interim post of the Skeletons received so far next weekend….along with one or two of my own secrets laid bare…  The final, total round-up will be right after Christmas.  Soooo….

SkeletonsDon't forget to search your closet/pantry for skeletons.  Remember, confession is good for the soul.  It can, but doesn't have to, be an actual recipe.  It could just be the description of the, um, food or a story of the, um, event;  holiday related or not….
Really, any dirty little secret you feel like sharing!  You have until Christmas to post – the round-up will be just before Dec. 31.  The usual rules: post, link to me, send me an e-mail with permalink.  Click for details!

Come on, tell!  Share the pain…you'll feel better!  And so will we!

21 thoughts on “Farmhouse Pasta; The Allure of the Forbidden”

  1. Did your mother do that to make history? It does make a great memory.
    Lame, lame, lame. I can’t come up with a kitchen disaster. Yes, I know I’m not perfect but nothing is really striking me as disaster. LAME.

  2. such a funny childhood story! I didn’t really like sweets when I was young, so no problem on that. hehe..
    And your spaghetti does sound great!

  3. lol, that was the perfect intro…granted you got me ready for fudge, so now you owe the internet a fudge post 😮
    …and it sounds like a tasty pasta, too 😛

  4. I love popcorn balls! I know what you mean about some dishes tasting better than they look. I bet your dish taste wonderful. All the ingredients together sound great.

  5. We used to think my mother was a witch because she always knew when we had some of the fabulous cookies she hid in tins…not very well hidden, I might add. We would sneak in, take one or two and rearrange so the holes were covered. I was soooo brilliant it didn’t seem to register that entire layers of cookies were missing!
    As for the pasta, it looks perfectly heavenly to me. Thanks for sharing with Presto pasta Night.

  6. That pasta looks and sounds great! As for cookies, my grandmother did all the baking and brought us tins of cookies just before Christmas. I am sure my mother kept those under lock and key, after sneaking one or two.
    Katie, having confessed to both a passion for Rice-A-Roni and bisquit mix in one year, I will NEVER be taken seriously in the blogosphere.

  7. Katie, no no, your pasta actally looks seriously good even just in photo! I already felt I tasting that tangy and creamy thick sauce… addictive!
    Your mom is a fantastic baker!

  8. Casey, my mother did make good fudge!
    Tanna, I’ll have to ask her why she so persisted… It doesn’t have to be a disaster – just something you would rather people didn’t know…except us of course!
    Anh, I have always, always, loved chocolate.
    Peter, the chevre just melts and oozes into the pasta…I’m getting hungry for it again..
    Mike, as often as I watched my mother I have never made it myself. I just remember her beating it unitl her arm fell off!
    Maryann, I love them too – but not the ones you buy, they’re worthless. I should get her recipe.
    Ruth, Isn’t it amazing how clever we thought we were – and how stupid we thought our parents must be! And you are most welcome!
    Mimi, so that’s how your mother kept the cookies safe! Just wait until I do some confessing next weekend…. We can ride off into the sunset of the blogosphere, together!
    Moon, this recipe will serve 2 or 3, or 4 with some bread and/or salad but it increases really easily.
    Kristen, thank you 🙂 Nice to be trusted…
    Gattina, the chevre adds just the right amount of tang…and creaminess!

  9. It just looks like my mothers favourite pasta dish!!!! And my daughter always asks her to do it! Only that my mother doesn’t use spinachs… but I’m immediatly telling her about this recipe… she will add the green colour for sure!

  10. Looks yummy! I love anything with proscuitto in it! Great cookie story. My grandmother used to make lots of cookies. She never had to hide them though, I guess, with just me, she didn’t have to worry too much!

  11. What a great story! Brother’s are funny like that – being able to get away with things we can’t.
    I love this pasta! Spinach? Proscuitto? Chevre? Could it get any better? 🙂

  12. Hi Katie,
    Does your brother still have a nose for detecting fudge now? 🙂
    This dish sounds delicious. I love spinach, even the frozen ones and always have a few packages of it in my freezer.

  13. Nuria, I hope she does – spinach is so good!
    Lynn, it doesn’t really take much Prosciutto to add tons of flavor.
    Pam, it’s just something about having them hidden that’s so much more appealing.
    Chris, especially first-born brothers!
    Betty, my mother still made them a few years ago. Homemade are so much better than ‘store-bought’. I like one, maybe two…not enough to make them.
    Scientist,I hope you do 😉
    Nora, now he just makes his own. I always have a couple of bags of spinach in the freezer, too – a staple.

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