In St. Louis, a frigid winter has finally given way to warmer weather that seems to be rushing headlong into summer. This can only mean one thing: time to hurry to the Farmer's market. In my few short months in this city, I have already fallen in love with Soulard Market. The Mississippi river which laps at the foot of St. Louis, bisects the USA, dividing the country into East and West and giving St. Louis the nickname Gateway to the West. Soulard Market is considered to be the oldest Farmer's Market west of the Mississippi, i.e., in the Western half of the United States.
A couple of days ago, my dear friend Cathy was visiting us for the weekend. Other people take their out-of-town visitors to local museums and monuments, but when two foodies get together, the logical thing to do is to head out to the local markets, and early on Saturday, we made a beeline for Soulard Market. The weather was warm and perfectly gorgeous, everyone was in a good mood, and the market was humming with activity. Next time, I'll get some pictures to show you all...this time I was too busy enjoying the company and soaking in the atmosphere to take the camera along.
Anyway, from the rows and rows and rows of colorful produce, I bought green beans and yellow peppers, asparagus, zucchini, mustard greens, and bags and bags of other fruits and vegetables. We also made a stop at the cutest pasta stand: Pappardelle's. This artisanal pasta company is from Denver, Colarado, but they have a year-round stall at Soulard market. They specialize in dried flat pasta with the most incredible flavors...such as orange-schezuan linguine, chipotle-pepper fettucine, and even a dark chocolate linguine! They also have dried flavored blends of pasta, including some really unusual fruit pasta flavors (raspberry penne, anyone?). Anyway, after much deliberation, I settled on the Spicy Thai Linguine.
Back home, I had to wonder, what was I going to do with this beautiful pasta? As luck would have it, my pantry was stocked with a can of coconut milk and a jar of Maesri Thai red curry paste, thanks to inspiration from Sandeepa's post. I put these ingredients together and came up with this dish, which was ready in minutes!
Spicy Thai Linguine
(makes 3-4 servings)
1. Prep the veggies: You can use any assortment of vegetables that you have on hand. This is what I used. Clean and dice the following vegetables...1 large yellow pepper, 1 zucchini, 1 carrot. Finely chop 4-5 green onions (green and light green parts only).
2. Cook the pasta: Boil a large pot of water. When it comes to a rolling boil, salt generously and add 1/2 pound of linguine. Stir around and let the pasta cook for 7-9 minutes, or until al dente. Drain into a colander.
3. Make the sauce: While the water for the pasta is coming to a boil, start the sauce. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large skillet or wok on medium-high heat. Add the diced vegetables and stir-fry until barely tender. Now stir in 1 1/2 cups of coconut milk, 1 tsp red curry paste and salt to taste. Simmer for 5 minutes. Taste the sauce and add more curry paste if desired.
4. Assemble: Stir the cooked drained pasta into the sauce and toss well. Turn off the heat. Stir in 2 tbsp fresh lemon/ lime juice and the chopped green onions for garnish. Serve right away.
The verdict: Amazing, amazing. I can't even tell you how much we enjoyed every bite of this impromptu meal. The canned curry paste makes it all too easy, and the result is too creamy, colorful and flavorful for words.
1. The spicy Thai linguine made this meal extra special, but I am sure that unflavored pasta that is much more readily available would be great too...just be sure to add a little more of the curry paste.
2. One could play around endlessly with this dish, adding different vegetables (green beans and pineapple is what I will try next), different curry pastes (green, yellow), different garnishes (fresh basil, cilantro) and other additions (
I'm going to pick up a different flavor of pasta from Soulard every time I visit, and keep experimenting with these wonderful flavors. Here is another one of their pastas that Karen tried...it looks sooo good!
Thank you, Meeta, for hosting this lovely event! I shall be back on Sunday, with the O of Indian Vegetables.