Archive for November, 2008

Pasta d’Hiver

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I was craving some pasta primavera this week, just as the temperatures dropped and I finally had to break out my early-winter coat. Knowing that I couldn’t head to the farmer’s market for fresh spring vegetables, I did the next best thing and went to my freezer for peas, asparagus spears and broccoli to toss with pasta and some fine cheeses. If you didn’t manage to put up freezer vegetables for winter, don’t worry. Some commercial frozen vegetables are really high quality these days (I’m especially partial to the Europe’s Best and Trader Joe’s brands), and frozen vegetables are just as good for you as the fresh versions available in the spring. Frozen vegetables from local sources are also a great alternative to the fresh produce that is being flown in from farther and farther away at this time of year.

Rather than making a traditional cream sauce, I tossed the pasta here with cheese, butter and vegetables. It’s (slightly) lower in fat and I enjoy the texture and sharper taste.

Pasta d’Hiver
Serves 4 – 6

8 oz. whole wheat spaghetti
1½ cups frozen broccoli
1 cup frozen asparagus
1 cup frozen peas
3 Tbsp. butter
¾ cup Feta cheese
¼ cup Parmesan cheese
½ tsp. freshly ground pepper
½ tsp. dried basil
¼ tsp. dried dill
¼ tsp. lemon zest (optional)

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the pasta, cooking until al dente, about 8 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, snap the frozen asparagus into 1 inch pieces.
  3. When the pasta is just about done, add the vegetables and cook until thawed and heated through, about 2 minutes.
  4. Drain the pasta and vegetables and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Toss with butter, cheeses and spices, adjusting as necessary.
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November 27, 2008 at 5:26 pm Leave a comment

Curried Potato Soup with Truffled Pecorino Cheese

This recipe may not seem to fit the requirements of quick, easy, cheap, but it actually was. I’ve discovered that a little grocery store in my neighborhood (Romeo and Cesare’s) carries a wide variety of really good cheeses that are relatively cheap. If you can’t find Truffled Pecorino, try substituting regular Pecorino (or another sharp Italian cheese, like Asiago or even Parmesan) and either adding truffle oil or just sauteeing about 1 cup of finely chopped mushrooms with the onion.

Curried Potato Soup with Truffled Pecorino Cheese
Serves 4-6

½ Tbsp. olive oil
¾ cup red onion (1 small onion)
5 cups potatoes, chopped
7 cups vegetable broth
1 tsp. curry powder
1 tsp. dill
1 cup finely shredded truffled pecorino cheese
salt and pepper, to taste

  1. In a large soup pot, saute onion until translucent.
  2. Add potatoes, broth, curry and dill and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook 20 – 30 minutes, or until potatoes are cooked through.
  3. Remove from heat and mash potatoes roughly with a potato masher or the back of a wooden spoon.
  4. Add cheese and salt and pepper to taste.

November 10, 2008 at 2:04 pm Leave a comment

Spinach and Black Bean Quesadillas

It would seem that grad school has managed to shift the focus of this blog specifically to vegetarian recipes that are quick, easy, and relatively cheap. This one is all three and was also really delicious. This recipe only makes one quesdadilla (half of which is shown above), but you could easily multiply the filling to make massive amounts and then make quesadillas (even more easily) all week. You could also easily make this recipe gluten free by using corn tortillas, or vegan by omitting the cheese and substituting extra filling.

Spinach and Black Bean Quesadillas
Serves 1 – 2

2 – 8″ whole wheat tortillas
1 cup frozen spinach (or about 4 cups fresh)
½ cup black beans
2 – 4 cloves garlic (I used 4, but not everyone loves garlic as much as I do)
¼ tsp. chili powder
½ shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese

  1. In a large non-stick pan, cook the spinach, beans, garlic and chili powder until the spinach is either thawed (if frozen) or cooked down (if fresh).
  2. Spread spinach mixture on one tortilla. Sprinkle with cheese and cover with the other tortilla.
  3. Rinse out the pan.
  4. Cook the quesadilla in the same pan for about 3 minutes on each side, using two spatulas to flip it.
  5. Cut into wedges and serve. Garnish with salsa or hot sauce if desired.

November 3, 2008 at 5:46 pm Leave a comment


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*All entries tagged "vegan" and "gluten free" meet those dietary requirements to the best of my knowledge as long as the vegan or gluten free instructions are followed (where applicable). It is always wise to double-check ingredients (especially when dealing with packaged foods) and to confirm ingredients and preparation methods at restaurants.