It’s fall my favorite time of year. And it means the return of red wine and butternut squash. So, naturally, I had to make a fall, butternut squash recipe this week to celebrate it’s return. This is largely a “variation on a theme” kinda thing – linguine with kale and roasted butternut squash.
2 servings linguine
3 kale leaves, ripped into pieces
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 onion, chopped
1 cup or so chopped butternut squash
Parmesan cheese (optional)
Heat the oven to 400. Toss the butternut squash chunks with some olive oil, salt and pepper and roast in the oven until soft – probably 25-30 minutes. While those are roasting, saute the onion and garlic, and then add the kale. Be careful not to use too much oil. Once the squash is done, mix with the kale and veggies. Add the pasta and toss all together. Serve with Parmesan cheese if you like.
So, not only was this pretty, but it was also really tasty. And it’s vegan if you don’t add the cheese. Lots of veggies, super filling, and perfect for dinner in the fall with a glass of red wine. So omg, so it’s been over a month since I last posted. Between work, finishing up some writing projects, and family craziness I’ve been neglecting cooking. But things have calmed down now and I’ll have a travel post coming in in the next couple weeks too! Song of the Week: Welcome to the Black Parade by My Chemical Romance. So it’s the 10 year anniversary of this album, and omg, I forgot how good it is and how much I like it. You should listen to the whole album, but if you don’t, at least listen to this song.
Making a long story short: My apartment was invaded by mice, so I am moving apartments. Between being, shall we say, less motivated to cook in my kitchen after seeing mice and the packing/work involved in actually moving, I’ve been lax about new recipe day. But I have had to use up a bunch of things like milk, and my frozen spinach, so I made Spinach-Parmesan sauce, which I’ve made a few times, and stuck it on pasta, which I haven’t done. Thereby technically making a new recipe.
2-3 servings linguine
1 cup frozen, chopped spinach
2 tablespoons salted butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
2/3 cup parmesan
dash of nutmeg
Cook the pasta. While the water is boiling/the pasta is cooking, make the sauce. Defrost the spinach in a microwave, it should only take a couple minutes. In a saucepan, melt the butter, then quickly stir in the flour so a paste forms. Pour in the milk and stir, constantly and making sure to scrape the bottom so nothing settles there, until the sauce has thickened. Add the cheese and nutmeg, mixing it until the parmesan has melted. Then remove from heat and stir in the spinach. Once the pasta has been cooked, drained and served into bowls, plop as much (or I suppose as little) sauce as you want on it and stir till it is evenly coated. Serve warm with salad.
This was really good. I’m a big fan of adding something green, usually kale or spinach, to something otherwise super carb-y or unhealthy to make it a little healthier and more balance, and honestly, it never takes anything away from the cheesy goodness of the sauce. And you can’t ever go wrong with cheese sauce on pasta, especially parmesan sauce which I like more than alfredo sauce. I had this with a super fruity malbec rose that I’m rather fond of. Song of the week: One Last Time, from Hamilton. Yes, I’m still totally obsessed with Hamilton, and this song really resonated with me, because one of my close friends moved to a different continent last week, and we made sure to have one last beer together before he left.
So one of my favorite simple dishes is a sort of half-way thing between bruschetta and a caprese salad. Basically, all the ingredients of a caprese salad, but chopped into little pieces and used to top bread. Well, I finally managed to find so decent (ie not tasteless) tomatoes at the grocery store the other day and was very excited to use them. Also, incredibly lazy and didn’t want to make anything too complicated this week for new recipe day (even I get lazy). So I decided to make my tomato salad, but toss it with pasta, thus making caprese pasta.
2 servings of penne pasta
10-12 ripe cherry tomatoes, quartered
2 ounces fresh mozzarella, chopped
Boil the pasta in salted water until done. While the pasta is cooking, chop the cherry tomatoes into quarters. Place the tomatoes in a bowl with the mozzarella and season with salt and dried basil to taste. Add a couple tablespoons of olive oil – more than the tomatoes seem to need as it will coat the pasta as well. Once the pasta is done cooking, drain and toss with the tomato/mozzarella mixture. add a little parmesan and serve warm.
I was pleasantly surprised by this one. Not that it was every going to be bad, but for something really simple it was really a nice dish. Barely any work and way prettier and tastier than just pasta with tomato sauce. You could also easily serve it cold as a pasta salad in the summer, but it was nice to have now before spring really starts. As you can see from the picture, I served this with a side of roasted asparagus, which went perfectly. Song of the Week: Never Gonna Give You Up by Rick Astley. Hey, I’m allowed a cheesy guilty pleasure once in a while.
So when I told my friends in the states that I was going to South America for two weeks, a common response was along the lines of “omg steak in Argentina!! oh wait…. what are you going to eat then?” What indeed? My basic knowledge of both countries suggested that neither were particularly vegetarian-friendly, being either beef-centric (Argentina) or seafood-centric (Chile). But both had some Italian influence, and I’ve managed in plenty of countries – besides, that’s part of the adventure right?
To be perfectly honest, I was disappointed in Chile – I assumed, incorrectly, that a country which exported so much produce would be fairly vegetarian-friendly. You can totally manage, but you manage by eating pizza and sandwiches. Those are obviously not the only things I ate while I was there, but they were a good chunk of it. I feel like I ate mostly bread and cheese and tomatoes, in various forms while I was there. That said, I did have a couple really good sandwiches.
This one I got in a cafe in Puerto Varas, Caffe El Barrista. Their food was actually so good I went their twice. This sandwich was lettuce, sauteed scallions and mushrooms, and goat cheese either cooked with, or possibly marinated in soy sauce. I’m not sure exactly where is came in but it was definitely in there.
One of the strangest tasty foods I had was at RestoBar in Ancud. This place does a bunch of things, including “TexMex” which naturally I had to try. So I ordered their vegetarian burrito. My burrito (which was big enough for 2-3 people) was just sautéed vegetables that had been mixed with lemon juice I think on the inside and then cheese was melted over the top of the burrito, and then there was a thin layer of sour cream and guacamole. And the whole thing was surrounded by Doritos. It was really good. Not TexMex, but really good.
Mendoza was an amazing surprise – the food there was delicious and so many options for vegetarians! And while Argentina may be renowned for beef, they do pasta like nobody’s business. The best I had was at Siete Cocinas, a super nice restaurant I went to for my last meal in Argentina (warning, its a prix fixe menu). It was goat cheese ravioli with fresh tomatoes, roasted tomatoes, and sweet roasted sunflower seeds. It was amazing. I had it with a perfectly paired glass of malbec (wines are getting their own post).
Another incredibly delicious thing I had was at El Palenque, and it was crepes filled with a spiced corn mixture, with cheese on top. They were served in a bowl that was then filled with cream sauce. I suppose anything swimming in cream sauce would be delicious, but this was up there. I’d post the picture, but all you’ll see is a bowl of white, so you’ll have to take my word for it. Song of the Week: Open Road Song, by Eve 6 – one of my top 3 late 90s rock bands, I’ve been jamming to this song a lot for the past couple days. It’s awesome so you should jam along with it too.
It really is fall now – chilly nights, leaves turning colors, and overheated apartment buildings (ok, that one’s just me at the moment). The return of fall also means the return of butternut squash! I never ate it much growing up, but I have been fully converted to their awesomeness. So I based this week’s recipe on this 5-ingrediant pasta dish, which I found via Buzzfeed.
Pasta with Squash and Pine Nuts
1/2 a medium butternut squash, chopped
1-2 ounces goat cheese
3 large cloves garlic
1 cup pasta
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
Chop the butternut squash into smallish chunks and toss with the olive oil, salt and pepper. Cut the tops of the garlic cloves off and stick on a baking sheet with the squash. Roast at 400 until tender. While the squash is roasting, boil the pasta until done (I used macaroni because that was what I had, but the suggestion from the recipe I based this off of was penne). Drain the pasta. Once the squash and garlic are done roasting, mince the garlic. Toss the pasta with the garlic, a little oil, and the goat cheese, add the squash and pine nuts. Serve warm.
This was really tasty! A bit heavier and more filling than I expected, but extremely tasty. I was surprised that it didn’t take too long to put together either. So you should totally make some sort of version of this! Naturally, since its fall, I have moved on to red wines with dinner. This one was a cab-heavy South African blend. I know I’m pretty skeptical about South African wines, but I’ve had a couple red blends I’ve liked. Song of the Week: Take On Me by A-ha. So this weekend I read Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, which btw, is super entertaining – I totally recommend it. Since part of the point of the book is an obsession with 1980s culture, I listened to an 1980s pop soundtrack while reading it. I was debating a lot about which song should be up for this week, but Take On Me is just so 80s, so it won.