12 Days of Cookbooks: pasta blahsta

I normally don’t share mediocre recipes with y’all, but I’m making an exception. (I mean it… which is why you haven’t seen peach clafloutis… capellini pomodoro… or watermelon agua fresca.) Wow, what a terrible way to start a post. Anyway, I tell you about this recipe’s “meh”-ness only to encourage you to cook it to be the spectacular dish that it’s meant to be.

I found these two recipes in The Occasional Vegetarian, a cookbook I checked out from the library. I have a couple complaints about this book. First, it has no pictures. How the hell am I supposed to know if a recipe is delicious if I can’t stare at drool-worthy photographs of it? Second, there are a lot of superfluous blocks of text, cooking instructions, and ingredients. No, I don’t really care about all the pretentious ingredients you keep in your pantry; no, I don’t have spiced oil and am not going to use it. I understand that not all readers of the book will be poor college students, but still.

I ended up making Rotini with Peppers and Cipollini Onions as well as Chard with Shallots. The pasta required a lot of prep work, and I skipped a few steps (for example, I roasted the bell pepper with the onions instead of charring it and peeling it). Preston and I both agreed that the dish was a little bland and mediocre, but that it would be pretty spectacular if it just had a sauce to tie it together. He said alfredo, but I think any old tomatoey sauce would be delicious. Also, for leftovers, I ended up combining the chard and the pasta, and I really like it better like that. I enjoy a little green in my pasta.

This post sounds whiny so I’m going to end it on a cheery note. My winter break is about to come to a close, which means an exciting new semester and then SUMMER! I’m going to be taking a few fascinating classes and starting an internship at the Undergraduate Writing Center. Can’t wait! What are you looking forward to this spring?

Fusilli with Roasted Peppers and Shallots. Adapted from The Occasional Vegetarian. Makes at least 5-6 servings. I highly, highly, highly recommend that you put at least a little sauce on it. I also found that the leftovers doused in Louisiana hot sauce were pretty damn good (but I douse EVERYTHING in hot sauce so I may not be a reliable source). If it’s your cup of tea, throw the chard in with the pasta. Steamed broccoli and roasted garlic would also be delicious.

2/3 c. vegetable or chicken stock
1 c. chopped roasted shallots (or 1/2 c. roasted shallots, 1/2 c. cipollini onions like I did)
1 roasted bell pepper (to roast this in the shallots, I drizzled them with olive oil, s&p, and stuck them on a baking sheet in a 375 degree oven for 30-40 minutes
2 tbsp. sundried tomatoes, cut into strips
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 lb. fusilli (I used rotini)
1/2 c. grated parmesan

In a medium skillet, heat stock. Reduce for 1 min. Add shallots, onions, bell pepper, and dried tomatoes. Simmer for a few seconds. Add salt and pepper, then remove from heat. Add prepared chard if preferred (see recipe below). Cook pasta as directed. Drain it and return to pot. Add the peppers-shallots-tomato mixture/sauce, and stir in grated cheese.

Swiss Chard with Shallots, serves 5-6 as a side dish. My version is highly adapted. I steamed the chard in the microwave, though honestly, I think sauteeing it would have been better. It got a little overcooked for my taste.

1 bunch Swiss chard, stems and leaves
1 tbsp. olive oil
1-2 shallots, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp. pepper

Wash the chard and chop it roughly, separating leaves from stems. Place the stems in an inch to an 1 1/2 inches of water in a bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. Microwave for 2:30. Add the leaves to the ribs and steam for an additional 3-4 minutes in the microwave. Heat the olive oil in a wok or skillet; saute the shallots and garlic for 2-3 minutes. Add salt. Add the chard and toss. cook on low heat, uncovered, for 5 minutes (if preferred — I skipped this step). Add vinegar and pepper; toss.


About Natalie (The First Kitchen)

I like to eat lots of plants, bake cookies, and explore Austin.
This entry was posted in entree, pasta, side dish, vegan, vegetable, vegetarian and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to 12 Days of Cookbooks: pasta blahsta

  1. Brianna says:

    What am *I* doing this semester?! Well, since you’re asking, I am taking Women’s Autobiographical Writing, and I just know that I am going to pee my pants in the front row on the first day. I’m that student. I love myself and I hate myself.

    • I love yourself! You are TOTALLY going to pee your pants. Carol Mackay is incredible. And when she invites you over to her house (which is, by the way, a stone’s throw away from your apartment) for an end-of-semester dinner, you are going to pee your pants again. Cozy furniture and stacks of books EVERYWHERE.

  2. Pingback: back to school graham crackers and musings | The First Kitchen

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