Lettuce Patch Gardens
Sustainably grown artisan vegetables
Colorado Springs, Colorado

Caesar Pasta

2 cups croutons (see recipe below)
4 quarts water
1 tablespoon salt
1 pound penne pasta
4 cups romaine lettuce, coarsely chopped
1/4 pound parmigiano reggiano (or parmesan cheese)

Caesar Dressing:
2 large cloves garlic
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

2 slices white bread

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Trim the crusts off the bread slices, cut the bread into 1/2-inch cubes, and place on a cookie sheet so the pieces are not touching. Put the cookie sheet in the oven for 10-15 minutes, or until the bread is firm and dry and lightly golden.

Pour the water into a large pot, add 1 tablespoon salt, and set over high heat. Bring to a boil, then add the pasta.

Peel the garlic cloves and mince or put through a garlic press. Put the garlic, olive oil, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, red-wine vinegar, cream, salt and pepper into a jar with a tight-fitting lid and shake vigorously.

Rinse the lettuce in cool running water, and dry using a salad spinner. Cut the leave crosswise into 1-inch pieces, and put back into the refrigerator so they are nice and cold when you add them to the pasta. Grate the parmesan cheese, using the smallest holes on a metal grater.

After 10 minutes of cooking test the pasta for doneness. When the penne is cooked, drain into a large colander and gently stir the pasta to remove any excess water that is trapped. Transfer the pasta to a large bowl or the pot you cooked it in. Pour about 1/3 of the dressing (about 1 cup) onto the hot pasta and stir will with a large spoon to coat it. Taste a piece of the pasta, and if the Caesar flavor isn't pronounced enough add more of the dressing.

Just before serving, add the chopped lettuce, the croutons, and the parmesan cheese and toss a few times. Grind some pepper over the top.

Serve on individual plates, with more parmesan and freshly ground pepper on the table.

Serves 4-6

From: Learning to Cook with Marion Cunningham

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