One of my favorite spur-of-the-moment dishes to make is pasta with spinach. However, in China, it’s often hard to find really fresh, crisp spinach in markets. Spinach seems even less appealing when, at the same market, I can find fresher and ridiculously cheaper Asian greens.
I picked up 3 bunches of tatsoi today for the equivalent of 8 US cents (Finally, something affordable in Shanghai.) Tatsoi is easily distinguishable by the thick, dark green, spoon-shaped leaves. With a lightly bitter taste, like Swiss chard, tatsoi is a good green to eat raw in a salad, or tossed in Chinese soups at the last minute.
The mild mustardy taste also makes tatsoi a nice addition to a dish like brown butter pasta, in which the butter is cooked to the point of nuttiness. (I’ve been making brown butter pasta with some vegetable variation for lunch almost every day last week, and it’s hard to tire of.) Today I finished off the tatsoi pasta with fresh sage, parmesan, and squirt of lemon juice for oomph. The fewer ingredients without compromising good taste, the happier my wallet.
Browned Butter Pasta with Tatsoi
Your pasta of choice, preferably curved or with ridges
1/2 stick unsalted butter
Salt and pepper
Leaves of 2 to 3 bunches of tatsoi, rinsed
1/2 cup chopped sage
Freshly grated parmesan
Lemon wedges, optional
Cook pasta to al dente in salted water.
When pasta almost done done, melt butter in a skillet. Swirl the butter in the pan as it foams. (At this point, remove pasta from the heat and drain well in a colander.) When butter begins to brown, toss in pasta and mix to coat with butter. Salt and pepper to taste. Add tatsoi and sage and cook until slightly wilted, about 1 to 2 minutes. Plate and serve immediately with grated parmesan and lemon wedges on the side.