Monday, February 1, 2010

Braised Cauliflower in Quick Cheese Sauce

Improvised on February 1, 2010 as a side dish for linguine in clam sauce.
2 cups cauliflower cut into bite-size pieces
1/4 cup low-fat soft margarine
1/3 cup grated mixed Italian cheeses or sharp cheddar cheese
1 t AP flour
salt and pepper to taste
Bring 3 cups of water with 1 t salt to a rapid boil in a 10-inch nonstick skillet. Add the cauliflower and return to a gentle boil. Cook uncovered for 6 minutes. Drain thoroughly, dry the pan, and return to heat. Add the margarine and cook until the sizzling stops and it begins to develop a tan color. Return the par-boiled cauliflower to the pot and saute a few minutes. As it becomes tender, add the cheese and seasonings, and fold together gently. Sift in a bit of flour to hold sauce together. Let stand covered a few minutes to melt the cheese and meld the flavors.  Serves 2 or 3.
Hint: Keep a large shaker filled with all-purpose flour at hand. Use to add flour directly to a dish that needs a bit more body. 

Linguine in Clam Sauce, Pantry-Style

Conceived and prepared on Palindrome Day 01022010. Except for the parsley, the dish is prepared with pantry ingredients in less than 30 minutes. Hint: always keep parsley on hand. It brightens many dishes and is very nourishing.
3 T (50 ml) extra virgin olive oil
2 T (25 ml) garlic, finely minced with 1/2 t kosher salt
3/4 cup dry white wine
4 6-!/2 oz (180 ml) cans chopped or minced clams, drained
reserved clam juice
2 T (25 ml) tapioca starch, suspended in 2 T clam juice
fistful chopped parsley
2 t (10 ml) fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped
shredded or grated Parmesan
1 lb linguine, boiled 8 minutes in salted water
reserved pasta water
Heat a large skillet over medium heat, add the oil. When it shimmers, add the garlic. When it is fragrant, add the wine, and mix to emulsify the wine, oil, and garlic. Reduce by half at a slow boil. Add the reserved clam juice and starch suspension and heat gently with stirring. When hot, stir in the clams and herbs. Stir in the hot undercooked linguine, add some pasta water, continue to cook, adding more pasta water until sauce is loose and the pasta is cooked al dente, about 6 minutes. Plate and finish with a drizzle of oil and a shower of cheese. Serves 4 to 6.
Note: This is the 50th contribution to this blog.

Oven-Roasted Potato Wedges with Rosemary and Olive Oil

Developed February, 2008. Prepared often, a family favorite, and solid performer.
1 lb russet, Yukon Gold®, or sweet potatoes
3 T olive oil
1 t fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1 t paprika
kosher salt
freshly ground pepper
Preheat toaster oven and baking pan to 425 ºF. Scrub, dry, and cut potatoes lengthwise into wedges. Put potatoes in a bowl and toss with oil and seasonings. Spread in a single layer, and roast 20 minutes. With a spatula and tongs, turn each wedge over and return to oven for another 10 minutes or until brown and crisp outside and tender inside. Serves 3 to 4 as a side dish.