Anne food. has a new kitchen! For the last two weeks the Man and I have been moving— i.e. no Internet, eating out, getting a workout by carrying boxes, and wondering where our pajamas might be hiding! As many of you remember, I packed up my California house last September, and shipped everything east, anticipating a more permanent home in Lakeville, Connecticut.
Well, we found our house! And now we need to quit our day jobs and become apple farmers. Kidding, but only sort of. The Man and I are the proud owners of a small apple orchard, and evidently there's a bumper crop this year. Meaning there are so many apples I might drown in them. We officially moved in on Friday, and on Saturday night while I was unpacking and cooking dinner, the Man was picking apples until 1 am in order to save them before the first frost (it was 20 degrees on Monday morning— yikes!). He was picking for hours and barely made a dent! Not due to his apple picking ability— I'll have it known that he is a very skilled apple harvester. There are just so many! And now our barn has a lovely apple fragrance.
New homestead = long fix-it list, but a girl still has to eat! So here it is— one of the first dishes I cooked in the new kitchen. Correction: the Man and I cooked! I get him in front of the stove every once in a while...
Last October I posted a brown rice pasta recipe with red kuri squash and broccoli rabe that's a hearty, delicious, and warm autumn dinner. It is fall once again, with plenty of work to do outside in the cold, giving me even more reason to create this year's version of an autumn vegetable pasta. And drink a bottle of red wine.
Grocery shopping around here tends to be a bit more piecemeal than in California. I saw Brussels sprouts at the grocery store one day, and then the next day happened across some squash, kale and leeks at the farm stand. I then drove down the road to the farm market, where they had tasty looking mushrooms and brown rice pasta that's always good to have on hand. (They also had fresh pork sausage which I got for my meat eater, and would make a delicious addition to this otherwise vegetarian dish.) No single place has everything I need, so grocery shopping for meals rarely occurs all at once.
Note: Usually I note how the vegetables are prepared (i.e., chopped or sliced) in the ingredients list, but today I've included that in the directions section because chopping and cleaning vegetables take time, and in this recipe you can prep as you go along.
AUTUMN VEGETABLE PENNE
- 1 delicata squash
- 1 leek
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 bunch lacinato kale
- 5 cups Brussels sprouts
- 6 cups shiitake mushrooms
- a handful of Italian parsley leaves
- 4 ounces Pecorino cheese
- 16 oz brown rice penne pasta
- extra virgin olive oil
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
First, preheat your oven to 400 degrees, and put a large pot of salted water on the stove to boil over high heat. Brown rice pasta loves to stick, so my secret is to splash a little EVOO into your water as well. Next add a couple tablespoons of EVOO to a large cast iron pan, and set it on the stove. Line a baking sheet with foil, and grab a large glass pyrex baking dish while you're at it.
First, deal with your squash because you want it to have plenty of time to caramelize in the oven! Cut off both ends, and halve lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and discard. Put cut sides face down and slice into half moons about 1/4 inch thick. Transfer to your baking sheet, toss with EVOO and a few pinches of salt and pepper. Throw that in the oven on the top rack.
Now, thoroughly rinse your leek, chop off the leafy and furry ends so you're left with the white and light green section in the middle. Slice it lengthwise, put cut sides face down on your cutting board, and slice into half-moons about 1/4 inch thick. Turn the heat to medium under your cast iron and add the leeks. Stir occasionally. While that's cooking, peel and mince the garlic. Add it to the cast iron once the leeks have mostly softened, and cook until the garlic is fragrant but not yet brown. Transfer the mixture to a large serving bowl, and set aside.
Next, cut the gnarly ends off your kale, and pull the leaves away from the ribs. Discard the ribs, and chop the leaves into 1 inch wide strips. Add two more tablespoons of EVOO to your cast iron, along with the kale. Turn the heat to medium, and toss occasionally until the leaves have brightened in color and are tender. Once cooked, add the kale to the serving bowl.
Meanwhile, cut the tough ends off your shiitakes, and halve or quarter them depending on their size. Put them in your glass Pyrex, toss with EVOO and add them to the lower rack of your oven.
Cut the ends off your Brussels sprouts, remove and discard the outer leaves, and halve or quarter them depending on their size. Splash two more tablespoons EVOO in your cast iron over medium heat, and add the sprouts. Let them cook until tender and caramelized, but not mushy! Toss occasionally to color all sides, and add the sprouts to the serving bowl once they are done.
While the sprouts are cooking, mince the parsley and grate the Pecorino. Set them aside. Add your pasta to the boiling water, and cook according to package directions. While the pasta is cooking, remove the squash and mushrooms from the oven and add them to your serving bowl. You'll know they are ready when the squash is tender and golden, and the mushrooms have softened slightly. Once your pasta is tender but not gummy, add it to your serving bowl with another splash of EVOO. Toss, and season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Garnish with parsley and Pecorino as you desire.