Saturday, April 08, 2006

Pasta Rustica

Tonight's dinner was by request - whenever we've been away from home we all start thinking of homecooked foods we are craving. So Ana requested this pasta recipe and then ended up being invited for a sleepover. We saved her some! This is by no means a low fat dinner. The original recipe called for a bunch of olive oil, butter and fontina cheese. It can get pretty dry without some oil so I use as much as I need but no more! The menu included beet roesti with rosemary, sauteed beet greens (it's a 2 for 1 veggie!), and spinach salad with mandarin oranges, sliced almonds and red onion.

Pasta Rustica

1 lb Penne Rigate
6 small potatoes, 1" dice
olive oil
1 t salt
fresh ground pepper
½ t thyme
¼ t cayenne pepper
½ t tarragon
1 t majoram
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 large onion, thinly sliced
3 T Earth Balance margarine
3 slices Tofutti mozzarella slices, finely diced.

Preheat oven to 400. Cut potatoes and put in a low-sided baking pan & toss in olive oil to coat. Sprinkle potatoes with all spices. Bake in oven for 30 minutes. Add onions to potatoes and toss (I turned up the oven at this point as well). Cook for 30 more minutes or until potatoes and onions are well browned. Ten minutes before potatoes are ready, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside. Add margarine to preheated saute pan and melt. Mix hot pasta into saute pan and blend in potatoes/veggie mix. Toss pasta with diced soy cheese and more olive oil if needed. Serves 6-8.

We also had Beet Roesti - this is the recipe to convert beet haters. Both my kids love beets now and I know it's because of this recipe. These are the beets when they first went in the pan:

Beet Roesti with Rosemary
From How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman

1 to 1 1/2 lb. beets (I used one bunch that had two large and one smallish beet)
1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary (I think fresh is essential here)
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup flour
2 tbsp margarine
Trim the beets and peel them as you would potatoes; grate them in a food processor or by hand. Begin preheating a medium to large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Toss the grated beets in a bowl with the rosemary and salt, then add about half the flour; toss well, add the rest of the flour, then toss again.Place the margarine in the skillet and heat until it begins to turn nut-brown.

Shape the beet mixture into the skillet, shape it into a nice circle, and press it down with a spatula. Turn the heat to medium-heat and cook, shaking the pan occasionally, until the bottom of the beet cake is nicely crisp, 6 to 8 minutes. Slide the cake out onto a plate, top with another plate, invert the two plates, and slide the cake back into the pan. Continue to cook, adjusting the heat if necessary, until the second side is browned. Cut into wedges and serve immediately.

For the beet greens I cut them and then sauteed them in a tiny bit of olive oil and then splashed them with some balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper.

As nice as it is to go away for a few days I always enjoy being back in my kitchen.


Susan Voisin said...

Your beet recipe sounds great! I've been looking for more ways to use beets, so I will have to give this one a try.

Dreena said...

As always, this and your recent posts look fabulous Nancy! There really ARE a lot of beet haters out there (even I'm borderline). I like them grated raw for sandwiches/salads, but my mom used to boil and pickle them and I did not like those a bit!! I love the look of your pasta, and oh, by the way, your Disney pics below are so great! What a beautiful family and you look like you had a hoot! :)

Guinnah said...

Susan - I think you'll really like this - and while it needs some fat you could certainly get away with less.

Dreena - my mom used to make something similar - she called them Harvard beets I think? Yuck. But now I love beets :-) And yes, we had a great time getting soaked in Disney!

jess (of Get Sconed!) said...

Pasta and potatoes, something I've only done once before, and it's been far, far too long. I'm really glad you posted the recipe and the wonderful picture - I aim to make after this week (already have a pasta heavy meal planned).

And roesti, I love the potato version, and I don't think I've ever eaten beets as far I can remember, so I'll remember this for one I get them in my csa share this summer!