Pasta with Greens, Feta and Walnuts
Our walnut crop was so heavy last October that it weighed down the branches of the trees, amazing all who observed it. Half again as many walnut meats were harvested this October than the year before. The walnut orchard is a beautiful old orchard, with lots of space between the trees, used for weddings, camping, and games of tag played by the children's groups that use it as a playground.
On the tree, walnuts are not only protected by their shell, but also by a hull that starts to dry and splits when the nuts are ready to harvest. At that moment, we sweep the orchard floor, shake the tree so that the nuts fall off the branches, sweep the nuts into windrows and pick them up – one of the few crops that we harvest mechanically here at Full Belly Farm.
This is a great dish for a simple weeknight supper.
1/3 pound of walnuts from your box
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 leek, chopped
Greens to make 10-cups after being chopped, Joi choi works especially well
1/2 pound of pasta
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste
Spread the walnuts on the tray of a toaster oven and bake at 350° for 10 to 12 minutes or longer. When they begin to smell roasted and are starting to brown, remove them from the oven and set them aside to cool. Chop them into smaller pieces.
Heat the olive oil in a heavy skillet, add the leek and sauté for a few minutes, until soft. Add the greens in batches, turning the leaves with tongs. Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook the pasta. Drain the pasta when it is tender, but al dente and transfer to the skillet of greens. Toss everything and add the feta cheese as you toss. Add salt and pepper to taste and transfer to your serving bowl. Finally, top with the roasted walnuts!