Roasted Cauliflower and Spicy Oil With Pasta

I love to eat seasonally and fall is cauliflower season. A large fresh head was bought at Valley Farm Market and I ate nearly quarter of it raw, dipped in homemade green goddess dressing, tasty. Eventually I felt a pasta dish might be great comfort food to use the rest of the head for. I was right! This is definitely a winner.  Roasted cauliflower was my starting place but something without too much sauce. This version has olive oil scented with garlic and red pepper flakes. It is topped with freshly grated parmesan cheese. Delicious.

I used gf penne from Aldi’s but you could use any pasta type or shape you want. I also roasted half an onion for more flavor. Up to you. More red pepper; sure. Less garlic…sure.  If you hate onions; leave that out.  I used walnuts as I had no pine nuts. I toasted them for more flavor. They worked fine. I think this would be nice accompanied by a butternut squash soup. Great fall meal.

Pasta and veggies in the pan before cheese gets grated on top.

Roasted Cauliflower and Spicy Oil Over Penne

3-4 servings

Ingredients:

CAULIFLOWER ROAST

1 small head cauliflower; about 4 cups of large flowerets.

½ a large onion cut top to bottom into thin wedges

1 large garlic clove minced

1-2 Tbsp EVOL

Scant ¼ tsp red pepper flakes

¼ tsp. sea salt

PASTA

1 1/3 cup penne

3 Tbsp EVOL

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

1 large garlic clove smashed

3 Tbsp coarsely chopped walnuts

 1-2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

¼ C freshly grated parmesan cheese

Instructions:

Turn oven up to 450 degrees. Cut the cauliflower into med flowerets; don’t be afraid to cut across the middle of a big clump.  Place on large sheet pan with the onion slices. Drizzle EVOL over them, sprinkle with red pepper flakes and salt and squeeze garlic clove over. Roast 15 minutes, turn over cauliflower and onion and roast 10 more minutes; if browning too much turn oven off and let it coast the last few minutes.

Heat 2 quarts of water in a big pot; salt well. Cook pasta until al dente. Drain; save 2-3 Tbsp of pasta water.

While that cooks, heat 3 Tbsp EVOL in mini wok or fry pan. Add smashed garlic; cook 2-3 minutes; do not brown too deeply. Take out and let cool. Dump in red pepper flakes and cook a minute. Brown the walnut bits in a dry frying pan. Add the cauliflower, pasta, walnuts, fried garlic which you chopped fine and the parsley. Stir well; add the 2 Tbsp water if you want more liquid. Top with parmesan cheese. You can add more red pepper flakes and parsley if desired. Enjoy!

Aldi’s New Fresh Pasta: Perfection!

Recently I bought some of the new Aldi’s products including fresh fettuccine. I paired it with a cremini mushroom and tomato sauce and it was just perfection. The taste and texture of the pasta was spot on and I can’t wait to use the package of linguine I also purchased. The price was about $3.45 for 8 ounces. Not a bad price for fresh pasta. It has a use by date several weeks away so I am sure I will be able to enjoy it almost as fresh as if I made it myself. Don’t have time for that right now so I am super pleased with this great addition to the Aldi gluten free line. It is everything you could want in a gf fresh pasta.

This is a riff on a mushroom sauce I often make; just more simple.

mushroom linguini

Angie’s Mushroom Red Sauce with Fettuccini (3-4 servings)

 

1 8 oz package of cremini mushrooms

2-3 Tbsp. EVOL

1 medium onion diced (optional)

1 large garlic clove

1 14.5 oz can petite cut tomatoes

2-3 Tbsp heavy cream or half and half

1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

8 oz fresh fettuccine

1 Tbsp fresh parsley or basil

 

Directions: Slice the mushrooms which you have cleaned; I washed mine briefly to get all the dirt and dust off. My slices were thick and meaty. Heat the EVOL in a wide saucepan. I used my mini wok. When it is fairly hot add the onion and mushrooms. Cook over medium heat 3-5 minutes until both are soft and mushrooms look fairly cooked. Add the garlic clove, minced. Stir. Add the can of tomatoes, stir well. Turn down heat and cook 10 minutes. Add cream, stir. Sprinkle with finely chopped parsley and then add the pasta which you have cooked according to the directions (Do not overcook pasta; always best to subtract one minute from directions to allow for a minute in sauce.) Stir well and cook one minute; top with grated cheese. Enjoy!

Tuscan Chicken Made Fast and Easy

 

Burrr…winter has us firmly in it’s icy grip and I am looking for comfort food. And easy stuff that makes me think of summer.  This recipe for chicken is my new fav. Tasty, quick to throw together, done in my Instant Pot and it does make me think of an Italian summer. Winner winner, chicken dinner!

I use chicken thighs; bone in and skin off. Use whatever cut you like.  You might go a minute less for breast meat.  If you hate artichokes; leave them out. Any pasta will do or make potatoes to serve with this entrée. I have used heavy cream, milk or half and half; all will work; less calories for milk, richer flavor for cream.

tuscan chicken

I took this picture quickly before devouring it. The chicken blends in with the sauce and pasta and this plate is totally not arranged for a photo shoot but you get the idea!

Tuscan Chicken with Pasta

Ingredients

4 chicken thighs, bone in, skin removed

1-2 Tbsp. olive oil, EV if possible

1 large onion diced

1 carrot cut up into dice and/or 1 stalk celery diced

4-8 oz sliced baby bella mushrooms

3-4 garlic cloves minced

1 -2 tsp. Italian seasoning; I did half and half basil and oregano

1 cup chicken broth

¼ cup white wine

½ cup sundried tomatoes cut in half

1 small jar marinated artichokes, drained

1/3-1/2 cup heavy cream or half and half

1 1/3 cup uncooked pasta

2 Tbsp. corn starch dissolved in ¼ cup cold water

¼ cup finely chopped parsley and/or kale (use ½ cup of that)
Directions. Heat IP on sauté feature. Add oil then onions, cook about 4-5 minutes until getting soft. Add the carrot/celery after a minute of that 4-5 minutes. Add mushrooms a minute later. Add garlic in last minute of saute. Push aside; add chicken; brown on top and bottom; 3 minutes a side. Add the Italian seasoning; stir; then add wine; cook one minute; add broth and half the sun-dried tomatoes. Lock lid on and cook 8 minutes. Natural release for 10 minutes. Add cornstarch mixture; cook a minute; then add the rest of the sun-dried tomatoes, artichokes, kale (if used and actually I would add that first; cook it 1-2 minutes before adding the other stuff in this list) cream and pasta (which you cooked but for 1 minute less than package suggests.) I used rigatoni this last time and liked it for this recipe. Other pasta will probably be great too. Cook it on sauté for a minute; don’t let it boil. Sprinkle with parsley and serve. You can guild the lily with some freshly grated Parmesan cheese; it is a nice touch but if you want to cut calories; leave that off and use whole milk rather than cream. I have done this with kale; great with spinach. Last time I just used fresh parsley. Enjoy!

PS: I used my IP but you could simmer the dish on your stove top in a big pan; so… after the adding of the broth; maybe 25 minutes to cook the chicken. Rest of recipe stays the same.  If you use chicken breasts cook them shorter either method of cooking; they take far less time than thighs.

Pear Cranberry Rustic Tart

A friend gifted me some homegrown pears. What delish dessert to make? How about a rustic tart? I was time limited so no time for a raft of cute little tartlets that had to have their crust rolled out one at a time and fitted into the 4 tartlet pan. Good plan. Then, I added some frozen cranberries to zing it up. Plus a touch of cinnamon and allspice. And a sprinkle of glittery sugar to fancy it up.  Just delish!

I used some small Moonglow pears, another good choice would be bosc pears, just make sure they are within that narrow  ripe pear window; not under ripe and not squishy.  The holy grail of pears; that moment of ripe before they go bad.  That. They need to be peeled, cored and then chopped, in that order. Especially bosc pears; their skin is not tasty but the are great for baking with.

pear cranberry tartPear Cranberry Rustic  Tart

First, make the crust and chill it a bit while you peel, core and slice the pears

GF Pie Crust:

1 c plus 2 tbsp brown rice flour mix (at bottom of recipe)

2 Tbsp sweet rice flour

1 Tbsp granulated sugar

½ tsp xanthan gum

¼ tsp salt

6 Tbsp cold butter cut into 6 chunks

1 lg egg, room temperature

2 tsp fresh orange or lemon juice

Mix dry ingredients in bowl of stand electric mixer.  Add butter and mix until crumbly and resembling coarse meal.  Add egg and juice.  Mix until it comes together into big chunks.  Shape into a flat fat disc with your hands. Put it in a pie bag, on a large piece of sturdy plastic or on a crust sized piece of wax paper (14 x 14 inches more or less), put another piece of wax paper on top and chill it all in your fridge 15 minutes

Filling;

3 -4 cups peeled and chopped pears

2/3 cup frozen or fresh cranberries

1/4 cup sugar

1 Tbsp. granulated tapioca

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/8 tsp. allspice

a sprinkle salt

Mix dry ingredients; add to the fruit in a bowl, stir and let sit while you roll out the crust.

Directions: Roll out the somewhat  chilled crust between the two sheets of wax paper into a disc; maybe 14 inches, try to get the thickness even, no thick middle! I use my pie bag as it works great. Peel off one side of paper and place on pan, centered.  Remove other slice of wax paper or plastic.

Using a big spoon place your filling carefully on the crust but leave a 1 ½ inch border of crust untouched all around the fruit. Fold that excess crust up to make walls around the fruit filling. Sprinkle with 1-2 tsp. chunky sugar.

Bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes; golden brown crust and a bubbling, cooked looking filling.  Cool at least an hour before cutting. Great with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!

pear tart slice

Took this by candlelight outside on my back porch just before taking a bite! MMMMM

 

Mediterranean Pasta Saute

 

Summer produce is at flood stage right now. Quantities of ripe tomatoes are ridiculous and there are lots of other veggies fresh and cheap to be had.  It’s pretty darn hot; what to make that is quick and tasty and uses up some produce?  I like to make this sort of Mediterranean stir fry; you can vary the ingredients based on what is in your veggie bin or garden.  It is quick and it still tasted great the two times I enjoyed it again.

gorguta squash

Tromboni Italian squash aka gorgutza

Notes: Feel free to swap out a veggie for another if you want. Or change the basil to fresh oregano or any fresh herb you like. I love the tromboni squash as it is tender yet firm…not watery, but it can be hard to find; a substitute is summer squash of any kind. Use any melting cheese you like; I prefer either of the two I suggested. Chunks of fresh ripe tomato will work fine too. Any kind of mild pepper is a good choice.  Red onion will be great instead of regular onions.

Angie’s Mediterranean Sauté

Serves three

Ingredients

2 Tbsp. EVOL

1 med onion, cut in long strips and then cut across to shorten them in half or thirds.

1 frying pepper cut into narrow 1 to 1.5 inch long strips

2-3 cups tromboni Italian summer squash or use zucchini; cut into half moons or rounds about 1/3 inch thick max

2 garlic cloves minced

3-4 lengths of Italian sausage precooked and cut into ¼ inch wide rounds.

1 cup uncooked gf rotini pasta, cooked until one minute less than the package says to cook it

1/3 cup Mexican cheese crumbled or mozzarella cheese cut in ½ inch chunks

3-5 basil leaves chopped fine

A pint of cherry tomatoes; if they are big you could cut them in half

Directions:

Heat the olive oil until nearly smoking in a mini wok or sauté pan. Add the cut onion, the trombone squash and the pepper. If you use zucchini wait to add it for 2 or 3 minutes as it won’t take as long to cook as the tromboni squash. Stir for a minute, add the garlic, stir another minute. Add the cooked coins of sausage (I sauted them in a fry pan the day before; about 8-9 minutes), stir and cook a few minutes until the squash is nearly done. Add the cooked pasta and then the tomatoes, stir and add cheese, stir a minute until cheese is melting. Add the fresh basil leaves and maybe ½ tsp. sea salt. Toss well. Do not overcook; cheese should be just about melting and tomatoes warm and slightly soft but not burst open. Enjoy! saute on plate