Spaghetti with Sautéed Cauliflower, Raisins, and Pine Nuts

IMG_6611

For Meatless Monday tomorrow, I give you this gem. If you haven’t gotten on the cauliflower bandwagon yet, this may well convince you. There’s a ton of flavor going here, and I get it, at first it sounds weird. But trust me — when you put it all together, it works. There’s the caramelized cauliflower, sweetness from the raisins, acid from the lemon and umami from the anchovy, plus cheese, nuts and lots of parsley to top it off=bliss. I loved the addition of panko bread crumbs on top which gave it a nice buttery crunch. This is yet another of Tyler Florence’s hits from his “Tyler’s Ultimate” cookbook.

IMG_6613

It’s nice to have a pasta now and then that doesn’t use a traditional meat or pesto sauce. This one uses just olive oil, a little water and lemon — when reheating you may want to add a bit more olive oil to loosen it up a little.

TW’s Tips

  • Instead of using anchovies, you can buy anchovy paste in a tube (literally like toothpaste)
  • On the raisins, you can use golden or regular
  • To keep this totally vegetarian, just leave out the anchovy (but I don’t recommend it!)
  • On the pinenuts, you can substitute others — almonds, walnuts are good options
  • Keep the toasted breadcrumbs separate so you still get a crunch when you reheat the pasta for leftovers — just sprinkle them on top when it comes out of the microwave.

Enjoy!

Spaghetti with Sautéed Cauliflower, Raisins and Pine Nuts

Ingredients

  • 1 head cauliflower, cored and broken into bite-size florets
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup raisins (TW: I used leftover golden raisins)
  • 2 anchovy fillets, mashed to a paste with the side of a large knife (TW: or use anchovy paste)
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted (TW: I used sliced almonds)
  • 1/2 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 1/2 bunch parsley, chopped, about 1/2 cup
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • Freshly grated Parmesan to taste

Directions

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta. Preheat the oven to 350.

Saute the cauliflower and the anchovies in a saute pan in 1/4 cup of olive oil. Heat over medium heat until the oil is hot and the anchovies are sizzling. Add 1/4 cup of water and season with salt. Bring to a simmer, heat on medium, cover and and steam the cauliflower for about 5 minutes. Uncover and cook for about 5-7 minutes more until the water has evaporated and the cauliflower is starting to brown. Add the raisins and pine nuts and toss to warm through. Remove the pan from the heat and cover to keep warm.

On a baking sheet, drizzle the panko with 2-3 tablespoons of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat and spread out in a layer on a baking sheet. Bake for about 10 minutes or until it’s lightly brown and crunchy.

Cook the spaghetti until al dente.

Drain the spaghetti and place in a large bowl. Add a 2 count of olive oil and toss. Dump in the cauliflower mixture, add the parsley and lemon juice, and fold together. Arrange on a plate and sprinkle with the bread crumbs and cheese.

Summer Vegetable and Burrata Salad

IMG_7236

 

I’m all about the summer ingredients, and this salad is a great way to get in on it. Use some greenmarket cherry tomatoes, corn and arugula, and alongside some rich, creamy burrata, you’ll be in heaven. I love what the fresh basil and mint do for this salad — the recipe (from Food & Wine) calls for a generous amount of both, and it adds such an awesome array of flavor to this — so much more than you’d get from just plain lettuce (even if it IS arugula). Unfortunately I couldn’t find fava beans for this, but I bet it would make it even more interesting.

IMG_7238IMG_7237

TW’s Tips

  • Buy quality fresh burrata — good grocery stores package it themselves and sell in the cheese section
  • If you’re not eating the salad in one sitting, don’t dress the whole thing so the greens stay fresh and crisp.
  • To keep your basil fresh, snip off the ends and put in a glass of water on the counter.

Enjoy!

Summer Vegetable and Burrata Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 pound fresh fava beans, shelled (1 cup)
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 ears of corn (preferably white), shucked and kernels cut off the cobs (3 1/2 cups)
  • Kosher salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • 4 ounces arugula (6 cups lightly packed)
  • 8 ounces mixed cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped mint
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped basil (see tip for keeping fresh)
  • 8 ounces burrata cheese

Directions

Fill a medium bowl with ice water. In a medium saucepan of salted boiling water, blanch the fava beans for 2 minutes. Drain and transfer to the ice bath to cool completely. Slip off and discard the skins.

In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add the corn and fava beans and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, just until the corn is crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a plate and let cool to room temperature.

In a large bowl, whisk the vinegar with the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the arugula, tomatoes, mint, basil and the corn mixture and season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat, then spoon onto plates. Scoop the burrata into pieces and gently spoon it onto the plates. Season with pepper and serve.

Grilled Artichoke Sub

IMG_5653

More sandwich love coming at ya. This vegetarian option is super tasty. The featured ingredient is artichokes that have been charred in a grill pan, so they have a nice caramelization going. I love artichokes and they’re great as the “meat” in this recipe (by Jeff Mauro, btw). They are accompanied by a lemony, garlicky ricotta spread with pine nuts, which add a nice crunch, topped off by lettuce. Pretty simple, but pretty great.

IMG_5655

TW’s Tips

  • The ricotta spread was a little too garlicky for me; I’d cut the garlic in half.
  • When you roast the garlic, it needed a little more time than 20 minutes. I went about 40 so it was nice and tender.
  • Costco has a big jar of artichokes that worked great for this.
  • You can roast the garlic ahead of time — even make the whole ricotta spread ahead of time if you want.

Enjoy!

Grilled Artichoke Sub

Ingredients

  • 1 head garlic (I recommend cutting amount in half)
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons grated romano
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Three 10-ounce jars oil-packed artichoke hearts, drained
  • 1 large French baguette
  • 4 to 6 vibrant leafs of red leaf lettuce
  • 1 cup pine nuts, toasted with salt and a pinch of red pepper flakes

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Lop off stem end of the head of garlic. Pour the olive oil over the exposed cloves, sprinkle with salt and pepper and wrap loosely in foil. Bake until soft and slightly caramelized, about 20 minutes. Let cool, squeeze out the garlic cloves and set aside. Once cool, using your knife, chop into a paste.

Mix together the roasted garlic, ricotta, basil, romano and lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper.

Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Gently add the artichokes to the grill pan and grill until properly charred, 4 to 5 minutes a side, then set aside.

Meanwhile, lightly toast the baguette, about 5 minutes.

For the sandwich build: Split the toasted baguette in half and schmear each half with the ricotta spread. Then pile on the grilled artichokes. Next, add the toasted pine nuts and finally the red leaf lettuce. Cut to serve your family and friends and enjoy with a side of Tony Bennett perhaps.

 

Grilled Veggie Naan-wich with Sun-dried Tomato and Goat Cheese Spread

IMG_4307

Sandwiches, sandwiches, more sandwiches! This is a great one, and since it’s vegetarian, it makes me feel better about myself. Just a little. Roasted vegetables — it’s the way to go. It adds a meatiness and flavor you’ll never get any other way. This sandwich incorporates portobellos, zucchini, summer squash, peppers and onions together with an awesome combo of goat cheese and sun-dried tomatoes. It’s a Jeff Mauro recipe. And waaay better than any cold cut sandwich you can get. Trust.

IMG_4305

IMG_4306

 

TW’s Tips

  • I tried a couple of different types of naan for this — really liked the onion naan.
  • If you have a gas stove, it’s easy to warm/grill the naan directly over the burner instead of using a grill pan. Just keep the heat fairly low, use tongs to flip the naan a couple of times and keep close watch.
  • The goat cheese spread is delicious — make a little extra!

Enjoy!

Ingredients

Marinated Veggies:

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 3 cloves garlic, grated
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2 large portobello mushroom caps
  • 3 banana peppers, stemmed, seeds removed and quartered lengthwise
  • 2 medium yellow squash, sliced lengthwise into 1/4-inch strips
  • 2 medium zucchini, sliced lengthwise into 1/4-inch strips
  • 1 large red onion, cut into 1/4-inch slices

Sun-dried Tomato and Goat Cheese Spread:

  • 3 ounces goat cheese, at room temperature
  • 3 ounces sun-dried tomatoes, minced
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Naan-wich Build:

  • 8 pieces whole wheat naan
  • Olive oil, for brushing
  • 2 cups packed fresh basil leaves

Directions
For the marinated veggies: Mix the oil, vinegar, thyme, Dijon, honey and garlic together. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

Clean the gills of the portobello mushrooms by using a spoon and scraping out the black gills from the underside of the cap.

Place all the vegetables in a baking dish and then pour the marinade over them and toss. Allow the marinade to work its magic for 15 to 30 minutes.

Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat.

Grill the vegetables, in batches if necessary, until nice grill marks appear, 3 to 5 minutes a side. Set the cooked vegetables aside until ready to assemble (you can place them back in the baking dish where they were marinating). Once the mushrooms come off the grill, slice them thinly on the diagonal.

For the spread: Mix the goat cheese with the sun-dried tomatoes and season with some salt and pepper.

For the naan-wich build: Lightly brush the naan with oil and grill on both sides, just until some grill marks appear, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Start by schmearing some of the goat cheese spread on each piece of the griddled naan, and then layer the grilled vegetables high and top with a generous amount of basil, closing the naan-wich with the other slice of naan. Slice the sandwich on the diagonal and then enjoy feeling healthier with each bite.

Spaghetti Squash with Kale Pesto

IMG_5689

 

 

 

Meatless Monday? Yes! This spaghetti squash recipe from Food Network is a great one. While, let’s be honest, nothing can replace the love I have for lots and lots of pasta, spaghetti squash really does come close to imitating the look and feel of pasta’s starchy goodness. With a fresh, garlicky pesto covering it, you might even be able to fool a couple of people. (Kids? Fool the kids.)

IMG_5690

I was a little skeptical about this kale pesto, but I really like it. And it even makes a little extra you can save and put on salmon (or some real pasta, don’t lie) later in the week. And it’s even great reheated. Boom.

TW’s Tips

  • I had some pine nuts hanging around that I wanted to use up, so I substituted for the hazelnuts. Walnuts or almond would also work here, just make sure to toast them.
  • I skipped the raisins since I didn’t have on hand and didn’t want to bother with it, but I’m definitely curious about what that would add to this.
  • Make sure the squash is really done. It should feel soft when you flip it over on the baking sheet and the flesh should scrape easily into strands.
  • I had to add the liquid to the pesto in the food processor for it to really come together — the try ingredients were too dense.
  • I spent a few minutes staring questionably at the bins of squash in the grocery store when there were clearly butternut squash in the bin labeled spaghetti squash. I finally figured it out and yes, I was right. Spaghetti squash are yellow and usually oval in shape.

Enjoy!

Spaghetti Squash with Kale Pesto

Ingredients

  • 1 medium spaghetti squash (about 3 pounds)
  • 1/3 cup hazelnuts, roughly chopped
  • 2 cups roughly chopped kale leaves (about 2 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tablespoons golden raisins
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Halve and seed the spaghetti squash; roast face-down on a baking sheets at 400 degrees F until tender, 25 minutes; let cool slightly. Scrape the squash into strands with a fork. Discard the skin.

Meanwhile, toast the hazelnuts in a dry skillet over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate and let cool.

Pulse the kale, parsley, garlic, raisins and 2 tablespoons of the toasted nuts in a blender or food processor until combined. Add 1/4 cup olive oil; blend until smooth. Add 1/3 cup water, the parmesan, Worcestershire sauce, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper. Pulse until the pesto comes together, adding up to 3 more tablespoons water to loosen, if necessary; season with more salt and pepper.

Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the spaghetti squash and cook, stirring, until coated. Add 3/4 cup of the kale pesto. Stir to coat, adding up to 1/2 cup water to loosen; season with salt and pepper. Top the squash with the remaining toasted nuts and more parmesan.

Cook’s Note: Refrigerate the extra pesto up to 1 week or freeze up to 1 month.

Roasted Acorn Squash Stuffed with Cheese Tortellini

IMG_2874

If you know me, you know I love pasta — any type, shape, filling, flavor or sauce. As long as it’s cooked al dente, I’m in. This is a great winter meal that combines pasta with roasted acorn squash with a pretty impressive presentation. And you don’t have to feel quite as guilty about the cream-based, cheese sauce since you have vegetables involved.

So yes, it’s cheesy and rich, but it’s delicious and perfect for a dinner party since the presentation is so lovely. The sage on top is the perfect finisher. And for the record, another Tyler Florence.

IMG_2876IMG_2872

TW’s Tips

  • Any small stuffed pasta would work here — mini ravioli, etc.
  • It took a while for the squash to cook through — longer than the recipe indicated. Make sure it’s done well by testing with a knife. Nothing is worse than crunchy squash.
  • Reheating this meal isn’t easy — I scooped the whole bit out of the squash and reheated in a bowl.
  • This is a heavy meal. Serve with a salad on the side.

Roasted Acorn Squash Stuffed with Cheese Tortellini

Ingredients

  • 2 medium acorn squash (about 1 pound each)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound store-bought fresh or frozen cheese tortellini
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme, leaves only
  • 1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for topping
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • Fresh sage leaves, for garnish

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°F. Cut the squash in half through the equator and scrape out the seeds with a spoon. Cut a small piece off the rounded edge of both halves to give them a base to sit on. Place the squash halves, cut sides up, on a baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Drizzle with oil and roast for 25 to 30 minutes until tender.

Cook the tortellini in salted boiling water according to package directions; drain well, reserving some of the pasta water. Set tortellini and pasta water aside.

In a separate saucepan heat the cream over medium heat. Add garlic and thyme; cook 5 to 7 minutes, until liquid is reduced and mixture coats the back of a wooden spoon. Add the 1 cup the Parmigiano-Reggiano and the nutmeg, stir over low heat to melt the cheese. Toss tortellini into cream mixture. (Use some of the pasta water to thin sauce, if necessary.) Season with salt and pepper, then divide among cooked squash bowls.

Turn the oven to 400°F. Sprinkle the tops with Parmigiano-Reggiano and fresh sage leaves; bake for 10 minutes more, until the cheese is melted and golden.

Kale and Couscous (or Orzo) with Green Garlic Dressing

DSC02887

While housesitting for my friends a few weeks ago, I took advantage of their awesome vegetable garden to make a few dishes using fresh kale snipped right off the plant. I’m awfully jealous of anyone with a vegetable garden these days — I recently read Barbara Kingsolver’s book “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” and I love the idea of growing and eating your own produce and eating “in season” instead of buying something subpar from the grocery store. In fact, when my parents were visiting, we bought four little herb plants so I could attempt to have at least that on hand — cilantro, flat-leaf parsley, rosemary and basil. The cilantro is thriving…we’ll see if I kill everything else. 🙂

So, there was no way I was letting this opportunity pass me by when I had a garden at my fingertips and an open invitation from my friends to pick and eat whatever I wanted. I found this great recipe for kale and couscous with green garlic dressing on the Naturally Ella blog, and it was a perfect fit for my list of ingredients. And while I love Israeli couscous, I switched it up for orzo in my version since I had some on hand in the pantry.

DSC02889

The flavors in this dish are really fresh and light, with tang from the feta, crunch from the kale and nice acidity from the dressing (I used scallions since I didn’t have green garlic). It’s vegetarian, but it doesn’t feel like it since the chickpeas add a nice meaty texture.

TW’s Tips

  • If you don’t have apple cider vinegar on hand, any will do (white wine, red wine, sherry, etc.)
  • Sub out the couscous for your small pasta/grain of choice — regular couscous, noodles, etc.
  • Buy kale fresh from the farmers market or steal from your friend’s garden

Kale and Couscous (or Orzo) with Green Garlic Dressing

Ingredients

  • 1 cup kale, de-stemmed and shredded
  • ½ cup Israeli couscous, uncooked
  • ½ cup chickpeas (drained, if using canned)
  • ¼ cup feta

Dressing:

  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons green garlic (or ¼ cup green onions)

Instructions
Place couscous in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and let cook until couscous is tender, 5-8 minutes. Remove from heat and drain.
While couscous is cooking, whisk together oil, vinegar, honey, and minced garlic. (You can also whiz the green garlic in the food processor and then add the other dressing ingredients.)

Once couscous is done cooking, toss with kale. Let sit until kale is slightly wilted. Add in dressing, feta and chickpeas. Toss all together and serve. If you want it warm, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a pan. Add in chickpeas, cooking for 1-2 minutes until heated through. Add in kale and cook until slightly wilted. Toss with couscous and dressing.