Saturday, April 14, 2012

Sasha's Kitchen: Bucatini with Cauliflower and Ramps

I'm really into making pasta dishes with spring vegetables right now.  I love using everyuthing that's seasonal.  I'm happy to say that I scored the first rhubarb of the season at Union Market in Park Slope and am making a rhubarb crumble pie this weekend (posting it soon!).  In the meantime, I've been enjoying making some vegetable pastas.  Ramps finally arrived at FreshDirect just before Passover so I made this delicious dish just before passover started.  Ramps, if you are not familiar with them, are wild onions, usually gathered by hand.  They are a bit of a cross between leeks and wild garlic.  I like using them in pasta dishes during their short season.  Some people also like to make pickled ramps, but I haven't tried that yet.  Next week, I'll be making swiss chard ravioli dough with ramps/ricotta/marscarpone cheese and a rose vodka sauce.  Here's the first garden fresh pasta of the spring.

Sasha's Bucatini with Cauliflower and Ramps
1 lb bucatini pasta
florets from one cauliflower head, diced into small pieces
1 bunch of ramps, diced
zest of half a lemon
extra virgin olive oil
1 pint halved yellow grape tomatoes
1/3 cup panko bread crumbs

To make this dish, first saute the cauliflower in a couple tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, for about ten minutes, until soft.  Add the lemon zest and the ramp bulbs (separated from the green part of the ramps) and cook antoher two minutes.  Then add the diced green part of the ramps and the yellow tomatoes and saute another few minutes until the tomatoes are softened and shriveled.  In the meantime, cook the bucatini (hollow tubular pasta) according to the package instructions.  Toss the panko bread crumbs in with the vegables and mix in the pasta.  You can add a bit more olive oil if needed, and be sure to reserve a bit of the pasta water and add that in as well. This was delicious!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Sasha's Kitchen: Passover Carrot Tzimmes Souffle

I made a delicious carrot tzimmes souffle tonight for Passover, after spending two great seders to start the holiday with my family in Philadelphia this weekend.  Passover, of course, is the holiday where you can't eat any bread or yeast for eight days.  I found this recipe in a Kosher cookbook at my parents' house the other day and decided to make it for Brad and I tonight for dinner upon our return to Brooklyn.  The mix of carrot and pineapple is just perfect.  You make the souffle with egg whites as usual, and matzo meal instead of flour, but the consistency is actually pretty similar to a typical savory souffle with the flavor of carrot tzimmes.  A real Passover treat!  This recipe is one I adapted from the cookbook Kosher By Design for the Holidays

Carrot Tzimmes Souffle
2 cups grated carrots (about five large carrots)
3/4 cup matzo meal
2 T orange juice
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp cinnamon (added by me to the recipe in the cookbook)
2/3 cup of granulated sugar (original recipe called for a cup, but I prefer to use a bit less)
5 eggs, separated
1/2 cup canola oil
1 20 oz can pineapple, pureed in a food processor

To make the souffle, preheat the oven to 350.  Separate the eggs.  Combine the yolks with the matzo meal, carrots, oil, lemon juice, orange juice, cinnamon and pineapple.  Set aside.  Beat the egg whites in a stand mixer using the whisk attachment until they are fluffy and have stiff beaks, beating on the highest speed for about three minutes.  Then fold the mixture of carrots and everything else into the egg whites with a spatula, and fold until fully combined.  Pour into a large souffle dish and bake at 350 for 45 minutes.  Enjoy immediately!
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