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Lee's Kitchen: Linguini and rhubarb a tasty combo

I am wild about rhubarb.

I had wonderful friends who had an enormous rhubarb patch. When they were younger, they would bring arms full of the ruby and green fruit to me so I could make strawberry-rhubarb pies and puddings. (Yes, I know, rhubarb is a vegetable, just as tomatoes are a fruit, but we are free to call them whatever we like!)

They also showed me how to “stew” rhubarb and use it as a sauce with pork chops, chicken and fish. As they got older, and, although they continued to drive, had a problem getting up the driveway and into our somewhat steep steps into the house, I would come to their house and cut the rhubarb myself, then spend hours talking to them in their cozy kitchen.

They are gone now. I no longer live in the same town and have no idea who bought their house. I could probably find out who did, and maybe drop over and ask if they might let me cut a few stalks. No, this is New England; one doesn’t drop in on strangers.

A couple of years ago, because the season for rhubarb isn’t long, I started freezing rhubarb, fresh and stewed. I sweeten it a bit and serve it as a savory adjunct and with strawberries for dessert.

But in this new issue of Fine Cooking, there are some new ways to use rhubarb, including with pasta. I suggest you pick up a copy of this April/May issue, but this is one recipe I found absolutely delicious.

Linguini with Rhubarb and Parmesan

From Fine Cooking, April/May 2021, “Spring Fling”

Serves 6

12 ounces dried linguini

3 cups ¼-inch-thick slices fresh rhubarb

4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

1/3 cup very good extra-virgin olive oil

6 ounces freshly grated parmesan cheese (about 1½ cups), more for garnish

1 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Bring a large pot of well salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to package directions until al dente. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water before draining. Place rhubarb in colander, and drain the pasta over it. Wipe the pot dry.

In the same pot, cook the garlic in hot oil over medium heat for 30 seconds or until lightly golden. Add pasta mixture. Remove from the heat. Add the 6 ounces cheese and pasta water. Toss to coat. Return to medium heat. Cook and stir until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add parsley and pepper. Toss to combine. Garnish with additional parmigiana and serve immediately.

Lee White lives in Groton. She can be reached at leeawhite@aol.com.

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