Cooked Lettuce

More often than not, I would rather choose to make a green salad of boston, radicchio and romaine leaves doused with a simple shallot vinaigrette for our dinner, but my carbohydrate-loving kids do not share my enthusiasm. Fortunately, I discovered lettuces are just as good cooked as they are raw. After seeing rows upon rows of assorted lettuces at the farmers’ market a few weeks ago, I was inspired to cook up this pasta dish. And I picked up two large heads of lettuces – one green and the other red – to start with.

I shredded them thinly and cooked them lightly in a mixture of olive oil, minced garlic, red chili pepper flakes (add as much as you can tolerate!) and white wine. When the lettuce shreds began to wilt, I threw in a cup of frozen peas and sautéed all the vegetables until they are just cooked through; it took just a few minutes. I tossed cooked fettucine into the lettuce mix to appease the kids (who are complete pasta addicts) and called it dinner.

In a way, this resembles Petits Pois a la Francais, except that my version is heavy on the lettuce instead of peas. And of course, a pan of cooked lettuce is entirely different from a salad of crisp lettuce leaves. But I like introducing lettuce in a familiar form to my kids in the hope that one day, they will allow me the luxury of making a crisp crunchy salad topped with grilled salmon and call it dinner. Mmm, I’m dreaming already.

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