Celebrate your inner kitchen witch this Imbolc with a plate of homemade winter herbal cream pasta.
With a splash of white wine wine and some spritely green herbs, this rich cold-weather dish warms the soul and hints at the coming spring.
A holiday of raging fireplaces, hand-knitted blankets, and of course, comfort food, Imbolc encourages us to gather around and share a cozy afternoon.
Take the chance to slow down and spend some time in the kitchen.
Imbolc: The Cream Holiday
This herbal cream pasta is heavy on the dairy for a reason.
Before seasonless supermarket produce and convenience foods, people relied on cream and pantry items to sustain themselves through the cold winter months.
Because cows and goats produced all winter long, milk and cream were a key source of nourishment.
For this reason, we sometimes call Imbolc “the cream holiday” or the “dairy holiday.”
Every year, I try to come up with new way to use cream in my Imbolc meal in honor of this traditional viewpoint.
(Last year, we even experimented with a kitchen torch and made White Magic Creme Brulee!)
Although people often associate the cooler months with red wine, I like to use a crisp white wine in Imbolc meals.
Usually, I open a bottle and put it on the table, this year. But this year, I decided to put it directly in the cream sauce.
The clean taste of a steel-aged white wine calls to mind fresh snow and winter frost.
(For more thoughts on this, check out Pass the Chalice: Pairing Wine with Ritual).
In this recipe, sundried tomatoes symbolize the return of the light.
This flavorful pantry item stores the summer light of the previous year over the winter. Use the energy in sundried tomatoes to remind yourself that the darkness of winter is waning, and the days grow longer with each passing sunset.
In this dish, tender, fresh herbs symbolize new growth and the coming of spring.
But if you only get herbs from the grocery store, any bright, fresh green herb works well.
A common pantry staple, pasta in an Imbolc dish symbolizes the traditional reliance on pantry ingredients during the cold season.
Even in modern life, fresh produce tends to be shipped from faraway places in winter months, and is usually past its prime by the time it gets to us.
So dried grain stores fill that gap in seasonal eating.
Choose a quality, whole grain pasta for this recipe. A dollar or two extra is well worth it for premium grains!
-4 tablespoons salted butter
-3 cloves finely chopped garlic
-1 cup heavy whipping cream
-1/2 cup grated parmesan
-1/3 cup sundried tomatoes
-2 tablespoons white wine
-finely chopped fresh herbs
-salt and pepper to taste
-any whole grain pasta
-olive oil for drizzling
Bring a salted pot of water to boil. Cook pasta according to package instructions.
Meanwhile, heat butter over medium heat in a large sauce pan until bubbling. Add garlic and cook until it is fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add white wine. Stir in sundried tomatoes.
Reduce heat to medium low. Pour in heavy whipping cream, stirring constantly until it’s hot and frothy, but not scalding.
Add in grated parmesan, and stir it in until it melts completely.
Continue stirring and allow sauce to thicken to desired consistency.
Plate pasta. Spoon a generous portion of sauce on each plate. Drizzle lightly with olive oil. Sprinkle with extra parmesan and fresh herbs.
Reheating cream sauces is tricky. Your best bet is throw it in a sauce pan on low heat, add a little extra cream and bring it to temperature.