Saturday, December 10, 2011

Roasted Cauliflower Pasta Bake with Sage

Is anyone else out there having a hard time eating their vegetables? Didn't think it'd be me, but the chill in the air has me loathe to eat anything raw- I'm having trouble with green in general.
So, to get the Monster and I through, I'll just keep putting spinach and the like in tummy warming casseroles, soups and the salads for the 100 degree days that will be here all too soon. Cauliflower and green peas are the sneaker veggies in this dinner.

Tonight…a mash up of several recipes. One I've posted about before, the other has been made 3 times now and dug into greedily without giving the camera a second glance (much less a first glance). The first half of this dually inspired recipe today is from Ricki of Diet, Dessert and Dogs. Her recipe for butternut squash baked pasta is the 3 timer. I've always amended her basic recipe, and I've loved it in each and every one of it's incarnations.

The second half is Frugal Gourmet Alissa's cauliflower risotto…well kind of. There's a dose of my roasted mashed cauliflower in there too.
I'd wanted to put some nutritional yeast in the mix below, like Alissa's original recipe has, but found my pantry lacking this morning. No matter, tastes great without it, but you could always add 2-3 TBS into the sauce if you'd like.

I'd planned on taking step by step photos of the process today, but got really distracted and blew it. Another day...
You'll just have to trust that it tastes better than it looks. :-)

Roasted Cauliflower Pasta Bake with Sage:

1 sizable head of cauliflower, washed, dried, sliced thinly (~1/8th inch thick)
4 cloves garlic, peeled and cut in half if large
olive oil
Kosher salt

1 3/4 cups milk of your choice (I used unsweetened soy, but I'll try with almond milk next time)
1 cup broth (vegetable, chicken…)
1 3/4 TBS corn starch, or arrowroot powder
~7 fresh sage leaves
~1/4 tsp fresh grated nutmeg
~1/8 tsp ground clove
1/2 cup toasted walnuts
sprinkle of garlic powder to taste
1/4 tsp+ cayenne
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
1 cup frozen green peas, thawed
1 1/2 cup uncooked brown rice rotini pasta (or pasta of your choice…we love Tinkyada Brand brown rice noods in all forms)
zest of one lemon

3 slices of whole grain bread (we like Alvarado St.'s sprouted grain breads)
1+ TBS olive oil

Heat oven to 450.
Toss sliced cauliflower and garlic with a couple TBS olive oil and some Kosher salt on a large sheet pan.
Roast for ~15 minutes, then toss and return to oven for about 10 more minutes.
Remove from oven and set aside.

To a high powered blender (I use a BlendTec, comparable to a Vitamix), add a packed and slightly rounded cup of roasted cauliflower with all of the roasted garlic pieces you can find.
Also add soymilk (or other milk), broth, cornstarch, sage leaves, nutmeg, clove, walnuts, garlic powder, cayenne, salt and black pepper…blend till smooth. Taste and amend salt and other spices to your liking.

In a large bowl combine, thawed peas, the uncooked pasta, the rest of the unblended roasted cauliflower left over, and the lemon zest.
Add sauce in and stir till all is incorporated.
Pour into a lightly oiled lidded casserole dish (I think the one I used must be around 1.5 qt.)

In a food processor, whiz up the whole grain bread slices, and pour a little olive oil over them while the machine is whirring. I like to add a pinch of Kosher salt too.

Heat oven to 350.
Bake casserole covered for 25-30 minutes.
Remove casserole from oven and evenly spread the bread crumbs over the surface.
Continue to bake, uncovered this time, for another 20 minutes, until the topping is golden toasty.
I like to put the whole casserole together some time during the day when I've got the time, then pop in the fridge uncooked until it's ready to go into the oven for dinner. Leave the crumb topping off of course until half-way through the baking.

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