Hot diggity-dog…two veggie homeruns this week with my son, and it is only Tuesday!
Monday July 8th
Kitchen confession time: I hoarded last week’s broccoli for the full week because I have an absolutely addictive broccoli recipe that I could eat every day for a week and had planned on making it over the weekend. Sadly, my hubby and 4 year old child would not join me on that broccoli recipe binge so I had to come up with a family pleaser…and boy did I ever! We ate the whole bowl and could have kept on going!
Broccoli Garlic Pasta Sublime
makes 4-5 servings
1 package (18 oz.) of penne pasta
1/2 cup reserved pasta cooking water
4 Tbs olive oil (or a mix of bacon fat and olive oil, totaling 4 Tbs)
5-6 garlic scapes chopped or 3-4 garlic cloves chopped
4-6 scallions, white and green stalks, washed well and chopped into small round slices
1/3 cup pine nuts
2 shakes of hot pepper flakes
1 large head of broccoli; florets cut into bite size pieces and stems peeled and chopped into bite size pieces
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
Boil one package of penne pasta, per package directions, reserving 1/2 cup pasta water before draining. The key to remembering to do this is to set a glass measuring cup smack in the middle of the sink you would use for draining. So, when you get over to the drain you have a reminder and don’t dump it all without reserving the 1/2 cup! Set the pasta water aside and pour the noodles into a large glass/pyrex bowl (they hold the heat nicely while you finish up the rest of the dish). Drizzle a bit of olive oil and toss the noodles to coat. This will keep them from sticking together before you can finish the rest of the dish. Do not lid or it the noodles will continue to cook and be mushy.
Preheat an iron skillet on medium heat, adding 3 Tbs of olive oil/bacon fat.
Once the oil is heated, add the garlic or scapes, scallions, pine nuts, and two shakes of hot pepper flakes. Cook for 3 minutes. It will smell totally delicious! Scrape out all of the mixture and place in a tall mason jar (if you are using an immersion stick), or food processor. Set aside.
Return the pan to a medium heat; if it looks dry, pour in remaining tablespoon of oil and allow it a minute to heat up. Otherwise, go ahead and add the broccoli and cook for about 5 minutes, moving it around once or twice to make sure it isn’t burning. Continue to cook until tender crisp and bright green. It shouldn’t take more than 8-10 minutes, depending on the size of your pieces. The broccoli should not be mushy and drab green, so keep an eye on it!
Turn the heat off and place 1/3 of the broccoli pieces with the rest of the mixture in the food processor or mason jar. Add 1/4 cup of the pasta water, the salt and pepper and blend just a bit, so it resembles a chunky green pesto. Continue to add as much water as necessary to make it a thick pourable sauce. If you overdo the water and need a quick fix to thicken it up, add a tablespoon or two of olive oil and some more pine nuts, blend. Pour on top of the pasta and toss to combine. Dump the broccoli on top, sprinkle the grated cheese on top, and gently mix.
Serve and watch it disappear!!
Tuesday July 9th
Time to play and be creative in the kitchen! This recipe is my solution for how to use up all remaining veggies before my pickup tomorrow. I realize it is too late for you’all tonight, but this is still a great dish for the upcoming weekend, as you start getting to the bottom of your veggie loot. Additionally, because it is chopped into small pieces, it is texturally a bit like a hash (minus the meat and potatoes), and is super easy to scoop up with tortilla chips. My son loves anything that can be scooped up with a tortilla chip (a little grated cheese or sour cream never hurts either) so hooray for the Veggie Hash!
Note: This is one of those super flexible recipes that can be done with whatever you have on hand that sounds like a good combination to you, so taste as you go. The key is to caramelize the onions by cooking them over low heat until gold in color and NOT overcooking the rest of the veggies. The veggies should still be a bit crisp and the cooking time will vary, depending on how high you fill the pan (mine was packed!). Rule of thumb, keep tasting as you go! Also, if you chop the cabbage into long thin pieces it is difficult to scoop onto a chip, so make sure to chop into small pieces.
Makes 6-8 adult-size servings
2 Tbs olive oil
3 small onions (fist size), chopped into small pieces
1 two inch green hot pepper (I keep these in the freezer, pull one out, allow to thaw for a few minutes, remove seeds and finely chop. If you don’t have peppers handy, simply use 1/8 tsp of hot pepper flakes and increase as your palette desires.)
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 Tbs sweet paprika (I would also suggest trying a smoked paprika such as La Chinata brand, which I find to be subtle and not overpowering)
2 medium carrots, chopped into small pieces
1 small to medium size head of green cabbage, finely chopped
1 15 oz. can of black beans, rinsed and drained well
1 cup of leftover cooked brown rice (if you have leftover cooked meat you could also chop that up and throw it in the mix)
Toppings: grated cheddar cheese, sour cream, salsa verde
Note: Regarding additional spices, I added 2 tsp of Penzey’s Adobo Seasoning, which is a combination of garlic, onion, oregano and cumin. You could simply use chili powder, starting with 2 tsp and adding to your preference. (Did I mention tasting as you go?) Adding 1 Tbs of Zatar builds another layer of complexity and flavor. Zatar is a wonderful middle eastern herb/spice mix that can be purchased at specialty food stores (Russo’s).
Using the largest skillet you own that has a lid, heat the oil over medium heat and add the onions. Cook for 5 minutes on medium, lid it and turn to low, cooking until golden (about 10 minutes). Stir occasionally to make sure then don’t stick to the bottom of the pan. If the pan gets dry, turn down your heat and add a tablespoon of water.
Add the salt, paprika, finely chopped hot pepper (or pepper flakes) and any other spices you are using, stirring well. Add the carrots, cabbage, stir, turn up to medium and lid it, cooking for about 5-8 minutes or until the cabbage wilts down a bit. Add the black beans and rice, stir, lid it and cook for another 5 minutes. It is important to not overcook the cabbage, as it will become mushy and bitter, so taste it at this point to see if it is cooked to your liking. You can adjust the seasonings at this point and cook for another minute or so, making sure that the beans are sufficiently heated.
Serve in bowls, with your choice of grated cheese, sour cream and/or salsa verde, tortilla chips on the side. Enjoy!!
Check in later this week for some food preservation conversation!