Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Autumnal Pasta

I've made today's recipe twice over the last week. I originally made it on Anna's birthday aiming for something that would make you feel all warm and comfortable both when you look at it and when you eat it. Since my camera was doing funky things the photos for that version went missing and I made it again for a dinner with Sandra and Ashley (thank you for being my guinea-pigs every time I invite you over!) with some minor changes. You get the second version because the pasta ends up slightly pink which I think is super cool :)
Back to the warmth - I added cinnamon and nutmeg. I was originally looking for pumpkin spice mix but mine has disappeared so I went for a more christmasy theme (but if you have pumpkin spice mix or can be bothered to mix your own I would go for that, I have a feeling that would make it even better!).
I also added some chilli flakes for a tiny bit of heat which plays really nicely with the cinnamon.
Anyhow, part of why I love the recipe is because once you're done with the peeling and chopping all you have to do is boil the pasta and wait and chat to your friends or your cat or call your mum....
Also, since you're basically making roast veg, just see how it goes for quantities, you can always have some leftovers for lunch tomorrow :)

Autumnal Pasta
Beetroot, uncooked
Sweet potato
Some kind of pumpkin or squash
Pine nuts
Olive oil
Brown sugar
Chilli flakes

Some kind of pasta, e.g. linguine

Heat your oven to 220 degrees or if you have put it on the combination-fan-grill setting.
Peel the vegetables and chop them into bite-size chunks. Slice the onion into 3mm wide slices and mince the garlic.
Mix the beetroot and pumpkin with about a tablespoon of olive oil (if you're trying to save oil I would use some low calorie spray here and use actual olive oil later on) and some sugar (1 tbsp for a large baking tray is more than enough). Sprinkle with some chilli flakes (a bit less than 1tsp), cinnamon (about 1tsp) and nutmeg (no clue how much I used, I just grated away for a bit). Mix again and put everything onto a baking tray.
Bake/grill for about 10 minutes, then add the sweet potato (I don't like them when they go really soft) and the onion.
Give the veg another 15 to 20 minutes (check from time to time) and boil the kettle while you go and relax for a bit (this is the perfect time to catch up on some gossip or to prepare dessert.
About 10-15 minutes into you waiting for the veg (you want the veg to start looking soft and slightly browned, like it will need just under 10 more minutes), pour the hot water into a pot, bring it back to the boil and cook some pasta.
Once the veg is ready (which should hopefully be before the pasta is ready), take it out of the oven and put it on the side.
Heat some oil in a pan and fry the garlic until it goes all crispy. Once the garlic is ready put it on the side, clean the pan and toast some pine nuts in it (alternatively put them into an oven-proof dish and toast them in the still-warm oven).
Don't forget the pasta while you're doing all this. When the pasta is ready you'll want to be ready to drain it and, while it's still steaming, mix it with the roast veg. Grate in some parmesan cheese and toss in the garlic and pine nuts.
What I do then is allow people to season their own dish with some salt and pepper and add some olive oil if they want to (even if you've been using low calorie spray earlier on I would use actual olive oil here. Measure it out if you like, you won't need much 1/2 will be enough for one portion, but the extra oil will help carry the flavour).
 I don't know what it is about adding the oil at the end but it is just amazingly amazing.
All right, I am off for tonight, lots of travelling to plan and sort out :)

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