Monday, October 26, 2009

Unbelievably Delicious...and Simple!

The other day I made such an incredibly delicious, and simple dish that I appealed to Deb to give me a shot at doing a recipe this week. Thank you for your confidence in me! So Deb - how about giving the wine recommendation on this one? I must confess, I never realized how difficult it is to actually create a recipe. For example, my recipe involves broccoli. I was presented with the challenge of conveying to the reader exactly how much broccoli should be used. A cup? Half a cup? The whole broccoli, stalks and all, or the florets? A pound? A head? Half a head? What type of measurement should I use? Help! It's daunting for the non-chef, first-time recipe creator. So, that being said, I can only promise this dish is absolutely delicious. I will provide amounts of ingredients, but really - feel free to use the idea...I won't be hurt if you adjust quantities.

I was really craving brussels sprouts. I love to clean them up, slice them in half, and toss them with a little olive oil. Then, I put them face down on a baking sheet and roast them in the oven for about 15 minutes. That's all I do to them and they are wonderful. But I also love roasting an assortment of veggies. So simple yet so satisfying. This particular evening, I chose to add broccoli and sliced red onion to the mix. My original thought was just to eat them by themselves, but I was craving more.

I prepared some angel hair spaghetti to serve alongside my veggies. Now, the idea to toss the veggies with the pasta may seem a no-brainer to many of our seasoned readers. But to my usual "I-need-a-recipe-to-be-inspired" way of thinking, this thought was akin to Newton's getting hit on the head with an apple. I was so excited by the idea of combining the ingredients as opposed to enjoying the pasta merely as a side. So, I roasted the veggies until the cut side of the Brussels sprouts were nice and brown. I put the broiler on for the last minute or so to let the florets also get a touch browned, as well as the onion.

On a mission, I sliced up a lot of garlic, thin. I sauteed it a bit in some olive oil. I like to cook the garlic to the exact point where it is about to get crisp, but is not quite there yet. It's almost "chewy". I love the nuttiness this method contributes to it. Then, I tossed the angel hair right into the pan, as well as salt and pepper to taste, and a bit of crushed red pepper. Finally, I added the veggies. While still in the pan, I threw in some shaved parmesan. Now, I have cooked a lot of pastas in my day. A lot. This was probably the most delicious, satisfying one I can remember in a long time. And, just so simple!

Well, you get the idea. This is one you can just take and adjust to your own liking. But here is a guideline!
Simple Roasted Veggies with Pasta
Half a head of broccoli florets broken into medium sized pieces
10 Brussels sprouts cut in half
1 red onion sliced thin
6 cloves garlic, sliced thin
Angel hair pasta (not sure what quantity I used. But you can do what I do: cook the whole box and use it for dishes all week long...)
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp crushed red pepper (or adjust to your tastes)
shaved parmesan cheese

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Prepare pasta according to directions.
3. Arrange all veggies in a roasting pan and toss with a tablespoon of the olive oil. I like to put the Brussels sprouts cut size down so they caramelize a little. Roast for about 15-20 minutes. Again, I like to put the broiler on the last minute or so, until the broccoli is browned in spots.
4. Heat remaining olive oil in a pan with the sliced garlic. Cook 2 minutes over low to medium heat. Toss in the quantity of angel hair you will be using. Add salt and pepper to taste, and crushed red pepper. Continue cooking for about 4 minutes, tossing it periodically.
5. Add roasted veggies. Cook another minute or so. I add the parmesan while everything is in the pan. This gives it a chance to melt a little and really combine with the rest of the ingredients. This way, it will not just be on top, but will rather blend entirely with the veggies and pasta.
Should serve four. I like to make more then enough for leftovers! Enjoy!

A VERY good description of how to cook garlic in oil to...
the exact point where it is about to get crisp, but is not quite there yet. It's almost "chewy".
Amanda, you have said a mouthful! Garlic oil sure makes everything taste good. And this dish looks so good too. Your recipe highlights for me one of the best reasons to cook your own food; you get to make it taste the way you want it to. My first reaction to the recipe was one of slight skepticism. I would not be inclined to pair Brussels sprouts with pasta. Given that, I would never think to further combine it with broccoli. Broccoli and Brussels sprouts are in the same cruciferae or cabbage family. They both would bring a nutty, pungent flavor and rough crunchy texture to the dish. So my question was could it possibly be redundant? However, the addition of the red caramelized onions is inspired and brings a sweet depth to your sauce. I am intrigued and would be THRILLED to try this dish if you made it for me :- )
Is the bottle half empty or half full?

Now I am on the spot for a wine pairing. My first suggestion would be my safe go-to wine: La Vielle Ferme Cotes Du Luberon, a nicely balanced white with a bit of a green overtone that would certainly compliment the vegetables. Another possibility is a wine I picked up over the weekend that I am head over heels about: Masi Masianco Pinot Grigio & Verduzzo. As expected with a Pinot Grigio it has a grapefruit flavor, but this is followed by sweet apricot, and finishes with a velvety vanilla, almost like sweet potatoes. Crazy, no? It is perfectly balanced and just outright delicious (too delicious). I bought it for about $12. 
My knowledge of wines is so limited I can barley do this pairing justice. But thanks for asking Amanda! And thanks for that great recipe.

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