Pretty Dishes

The Herbfarm Cookbook
March 11, 2010, 12:37 am
Filed under: Books, Recipes

I own quite a lot of cookbooks, but in the past six months I have been checking out quite a few more from the library—especially the pricier (and generally older) hardcover tomes. As much as I’d love to add all of Thomas Keller’s masterpieces and numerous other gems to my home collection, I can’t quite justify the hefty price tags for many of them, and so I settle for possessing them for a month and trying out whatever I can during that time.

As a Seattle resident, The Herbfarm name has long been a familiar one, though I have never been to the restaurant. (I’m sure it will be a special-occasion destination at some point.) I had of course also come across the cookbook several times, but I had never really sat down with it before a couple of weeks ago.

The cover may be dated, but the recipes and extensive information are definitely not. Any cook who has or wants their own herb garden, or who simply enjoys using fresh herbs from the market during their peak season, will find this cookbook to be an invaluable resource. In addition to an abundance of classic, elegant recipes with an often unique herbal enhancement, the book also contains nearly a hundred pages listing herb varieties and how to grow, harvest, store, and cook with them.

My husband is an avid gardener, so he’s already started my basil and chives, two of my favorite herbs, for this year. I also really love the flavor of thyme, especially paired with creamy sauces, mushrooms, or cheese. Naturally, the recipe that follows caught my eye. It was an unfussy, satisfying, and flavorful pasta dish.

Don’t pay much mind to this snapshot of the meal . . . that evening was definitely a case of me being too hungry by the time we sat down to eat to bother much with setup, styling, or lighting.

Fettuccine with Red Onion, Blue Cheese, and Thyme

4 servings

1 1/2 tablespoons salt
1 large red onion
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh thyme
1/3 cup dry white wine [I always use Sauvignon Blanc in recipes]
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 pound fresh fettuccine, or 12 ounces dried
3/4 cup (3 ounces) crumbled blue cheese or Gorgonzola
Freshly ground black pepper

Fill a large pot with water, add the salt, and bring to a boil over high heat. Peel the onion and cut it in half from root to tip. Cut out the dense core at the root end and slice the onion 1/4 inch thick, again from root to tip. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring very often, until the onion begins to soften but still holds its shape and has some snap when you bite into a piece, about 4 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons of the thyme and the wine, and let the mixture boil for a minute or two to evaporate. Stir in the cream and remove the pan from heat.

Stir the pasta into the boiling water and cook until tender but still firm, 3 to 4 minute for fresh pasta. Meanwhile, bring the sauce to a simmer. Drain the pasta and add it to the skillet. Sprinkle with the blue cheese and toss until about half the cheese melts into the sauce but small pieces remain. Taste and add black pepper and additional salt. Transfer to serving bowls or plates and sprinkle with the remaining thyme. Serve immediately.


A few of the other recipes I must try:

  • Chanterelle and Corn Chowder with Basil
  • Grilled Figs with Thyme Honey and Gorgonzola Toasts
  • Braised Chicken with Leeks and Porcini
  • Herbed Focaccia
  • Apple, Rosemary, and Caramel Shortcakes

1 Comment so far
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This looks amazing. My mouth is watering … and I’m not even hungry!

Comment by meosima

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