Many celebrate Christmas Eve with extended family gatherings, sharing the year’s triumphs and commiserating about misadventures over a special dinner. However, in this day and age of dietary restrictions or fussy appetites, it can be hard to find a dish that pleases all and is delicious as well. While not vegan and containing nuts and dairy, this vegetarian dish is sure to be thoroughly enjoyed.
For those whose Christmas Eve meal traditionally features fish, scallops, mussels, or shrimp provide a simple non-vegetarian addition. If a family member or guest is sensitive to gluten, use gluten-free pasta to make the dish available to them. Accompany the meal with a wonderful loaf of farmers’ market bread and some New York State wine or farmers’ market apple cider.
Dessert anyone? Try a sweet from the farmers’ market bakers. By the way, for the cook, the best part of this meal is it’s easy to make, so you too can enjoy the family.
Ingredients (Look for ingredients marked * at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market.)
1 lb. linguine of choice
1 lb. mixed greens or spinach * (Try the Christmas spinach for a splash of red and green.)
4 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves minced *
½ onion chopped finely *
1 hot pepper * from Gomez Veggie Ville chopped (If you don’t like it hot, leave it out.)
2 oz. Sweet Spring Farm or Longview Farm blue cheese *
1 to 1½ cups Argyle Cheese Factory plain Greek yogurt*
Optional: ½ lb. Pura Vida Fisheries scallops * (Or substitute shrimp or mussels.)
½ tsp. coarse salt
Freshly ground black pepper
⅔ cup almonds, thinly sliced
1. In a large pot, cook the pasta in salted water until just tender. Drop greens into the pot one minute before the pasta is cooked. Drain and put aside the pasta and greens. Reserve one cup of the cooking liquid for later use.
2. Option if using seafood: In a frying pan, warm 2 tbsp. oil to medium high, adding the scallops or other desired seafood and sauté until almost done. Add a sprinkle more of oil if needed, and add chopped onion and half the garlic (l clove minced) and hot pepper (optional) and continue sautéing until fish is done. Remove from the heat and set aside.
3. In the same pot as you cooked the pasta and greens, warm the olive oil over medium heat. (If not using seafood, add all the garlic and onion here, and sauté for one minute.) Add pasta and greens, cheese, 1 cup yogurt and a generous ½ cup of reserved cooking liquid – just enough to moisten the pasta. Add the seafood if using and toss. (Add a little more yogurt if more sauce is preferred.) Add salt and pepper to taste, then toss in the almonds.
4. Serve in a warm bowl or platter for family-style serving.
A version of this recipe appears in this week’s edition of Saratoga Today.