Witch’s dishes to cure all ills

The whole house has a cold. I have my chicken bones on the back of the stove in one pot for chicken soup and great big hunks of scrubbed, sliced and unpeeled knobs of fresh ginger in another pot for ginger tea. Cook both for at least an hour. For dinner it’s more medicine. A pesto made from greens simmered with garlic cloves that will cure anything, says me. Use swiss chard or any kind of black cabbage, remove the stems, and wash and rip the leaves. Bring a pot of salted water to the boil and add 1 big bunch, about a pound, along with a whole garlic clove, a sprig of parsley and a spill of your oil. Cook for about 10 minutes, or until the greens are tender. Puree the garlic clove with the leaves along with a few tablespoons of olive oil, enough to make it look like a paste. Get out your mortar and pestle, or the flat side of your knife, and smash the a whole clove of raw garlic into a pulp. Add this a little at a time, tasting as you go, with kosher salt to taste, along with a few more tablespoons of olive oil. Add a squeeze of lemon juice and freshly ground black pepper to balance the flavor.  The raw garlic combined with the poached garlic is a beautiful thing.
Bring another pot of salted water to the boil and add nearly half a pound of pasta. Cook until al dente, reserving a little of the cooking liquid to add if you need some extra juice once the pasta and pesto have been mixed. Toss with a handful of freshly grated parmesan cheese.

I like this served with an onion tart, adapted from Lidia’s latest cookbook. And roasted carrots.

For the tart, caramelize 2 pounds of thinly sliced onions slowly in olive oil, butter and salt with a thyme sprig until completely soft and caramelized. Butter slices of bread on both sides to fill a baking dish. Spoon the onions on top, and bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Gently grate a pile of fontina or parmesan without packing, on top of the onions. Bake for another 10 minutes. (The onions are a cure all as well) Bake at 375 degrees until the cheese is melted. This is also good with some green olives thrown on top (the kind with the pits inside and you remove the pits yourself before adding).

For the carrots, just slice them on a diagonal and then toss with olive oil and salt. Roast at 375 degrees until soft.

Sleep well and get in the netflix.

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