With the holidays past us, I’m craving comfort foods. Of course, maybe that has something to do with the fact that my furnace has decided to stop working, and it’s about 55 degrees in my house. I’m just lucky that I live in a mostly warm climate and I can actually go a couple of weeks without a furnace and not freeze to death. I got one of those space heaters from Target today so I can actually start working on the computer again.
I’m also craving vegetables. I’m going to guess that most people don’t think of vegetables and comfort foods together, but I do. After all, I’ve been a vegetarian for more than 20 years now, and I love veggies. No, really, I love them. They’re so versatile and so tasty.
And, that brings me to the challenges…
People always talk about making New Year’s resolutions. And, I hear resolutions to be healthier. So, I was thinking that I might do a challenge each week or each month. Then whoever takes on the challenge can post back and say how it went.
Challenge 1 will be to try a new veggie. Any veggie. Go to the farmer’s market, the grocery store, Sprouts Markets, wherever, and get a new veggie. One you haven’t eaten before, or one you haven’t cooked before, or one you haven’t had in a long time. Cook it up and tell me what you think of the veggie and how you prepared it.
We tried a new veggie last night – Radicchio. It isn’t the first time I’ve eaten radicchio, but it’s the first time that I’ve cooked it. I really liked it. Nice bitter flavor. It was just great with the sweet creaminess of the ricotta in this pasta.
Let me know if you try a new vegetable, how you prepared it, and what you think of it. And, stay warm out there!
Bitter Greens, Herbs, and Mushrooms with Ricotta over Angel Hair Pasta
Adapted from Sunset Magazine
Makes 4 servings
6 ounces angel hair pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling if desired
8 ounces brown cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 leek, white and light green parts only, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 small bunch spinach leaves (roughly chopped if they’re large)
4 ounces radicchio, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
½ cup low-fat or whole-milk ricotta cheese*
2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley leaves, coarsely chopped
¼ cup toasted walnuts, roughly chopped
Cook pasta according to package directions. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water, drain pasta.
Heat oil in a large frying pan over high heat. Add mushrooms and cook until browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in leek and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add spinach, radicchio, salt, and thyme, and cook until just warm, about 1 minute (add a bit of water if pan starts to scorch).
Toss pasta, vegetables, and reserved pasta water together. Top with dollops of ricotta, parsley, walnuts, and a drizzle of oil, if desired.
Cook’s Notes: *I’d recommend the whole-milk ricotta for full flavor, however, if you’re watching calories, the low-fat will work just fine. Don’t bother with the fat-free ricotta, though.
**I think this would be great with the addition of some steamed cauliflower. Or, try tossing in about ½ cup of chopped jarred chestnuts.