Rustic Pizza with Vegan Sausage, Broccolette (Broccolini), Shaved Brussels Sprouts, Mushrooms, Farmers Cheese, Goat Cheese and Micro Arugula

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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Pizza.  Everyone loves pizza.   So many ways to top them – and I have posted dozens.  Look HERE & scroll down for a recap.

This one I am posting today was quite a show stopper.  I used broccolette – which Wikipedia describes as “a cruciferous vegetable derived from a cross between broccoli and the Chinese kale called gai lan. Also known by the trade names broccolini and aspiration, broccolette has a milder, sweeter taste than broccoli and features thin, tender stalks that can be cooked whole without peeling.”

It looks like that there – next to my shaved Brussels sprouts.

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You could use regular broccoli – if you prefer.

I used Farmers Cheese because I had never seen it before & I was curious.  Look at it there.  Doesn’t it look delicious?

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Here is what Wikipedia said about this cheese: “In the United States, farmer cheese (also farmer’s cheese or farmers’ cheese) is pressed cottage cheese, an unripened cheese made by adding rennet and bacterial starter to coagulate and acidify milk. Farmer cheese may be made from the milk of cows, sheep or goats, with each giving its own texture and flavor.”

In fact, it is sorta like a denser cottage cheese & very mild in flavor.

I also used herbed goat cheese & one of these vegetarian sausages.

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I also used that micro arugula because I LOVE arugula, that micro shit is pretty & it has a really powerful flavor.  Regular arugula would be fine – just not as pretty to look at.

So – like with most of my pizzas – I only list ingredients here – because topping quantities are up to you.  I like thin crust – you might like thick.  I like light amounts of sauce & cheese – you might prefer to go deep dish.  So – I will just leave it up to you.

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Rustic Pizza with Vegan Sausage, Broccolette (Broccolini), Shaved Brussels Sprouts, Mushrooms, Farmers Cheese, Goat Cheese and Micro Arugula

INGREDIENTS

Pizza dough (I always make THIS)

Vegan sausage

Broccolini – chopped small

Brussels sprouts – shaved

Mushrooms – sliced

Tomato sauce (I used a really chunky homemade one I had left over – but you use your favorite one)

Goat cheese (or vegan alternative)

Farmers cheese (or vegan alternative)

olive oil

garlic – minced

S&P

Semolina flour (for rolling the dough) – VERY optional

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 450-500 degrees.

In a large saute pan, heat a tablespoon or two of olive oil & saute the sausage, broccolette, Brussels sprouts & mushrooms until soft.  Add the garlic & saute another minute. Add some S&P.

Roll out the dough in some semolina or other flour.  Semolina will give the crust the speckled look you see here & really seems to add some crunch.  Regular flour is fine, though.  Put the dough on a greased cooking sheet or on a cooking sheet topped with parchment paper.  Top with sauce, add the sausage & veggies.  Crumble some of the cheeses on top.

BE SURE YOUR OVEN HAS REACHED FULL TEMPERATURE.  Cook for about 13 minutes – but time depends on your oven & the density of your pizza & your own preferences.  When it looks golden & the cheese are browned & soft – it should be done.

Top with arugula & eat that bad boy.  Alone.  Rejoice!

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Vegan Beef and Vegetable (Shepherd’s Pie) Empanadas

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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These are easy.  Buy pre-made, raw pie crust dough like those above. (UPDATE- Oh, dear!  I just saw there is LARD in that dough.  So – if you are vegan or vegetarian – buy a dough that fits your diet – or make it.   Yikes!)  Make your favorite mashed potatoes  – just make them drier than usual.  Mix in some veggies & vegan ground beef. Assemble empanadas.  Wash with olive oil or vegan butter and bake for 12 minutes or until they are the color you like.

I used grated Brussels sprouts & some cooked broccoli but corn or peas or anything you want could be used instead.  I used Beyond Meat Beefy Crumbles but you could use real meat or no meat at all.  Your call.

The ratio of ingredients is very flexible.  I neglected to measure what I used but I will give you a rough guide.  A lot depends on the size of the potatoes & how thin your dough is, etc.  This is a very forgiving recipe & these guys are really yummy!

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Beef and Vegetable (Shepherd’s Pie) Empanadas – Vegan, Vegetarian or Not

This made about 2 dozen empanadas (quantity depends on the size you make them)

INGREDIENTS

3 boxes pie crust

9 oz vegan beef

6-8 medium potatoes (you might end up with extra mashed potatoes but I will post a recipe to use them – so never fear)

Vegetables of your choice (I used about 10 grated Brussels sprouts & one large head of steamed broccoli chopped small)

Olive oil

Grated vegan cheese of your choice – (optional)

1-4 garlic cloves – minced (optional)

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp garlic powder

Milk (I used unsweetened almond milk)

Vegan butter

S&P

Vegan butter or olive oil

Parchment paper

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DIRECTIONS

Got a favorite mashed potato recipe?  Make that but keep it on the dry side.  Or –

Peel the potatoes & cut them up.  Boil until soft & drain.

Mash with just enough milk & butter that they come together like VERY thick mashed potatoes – small lumps are fine.  If these are too wet – you will have soggy empanadas and nobody wants soggy fucking empanadas.  Add the onion & garlic powders & some S&P.  Blend well.

If you are using a hard vegetable – like raw carrots or Brussels sprouts – saute them in a bit of olive oil until tender & add them & the beef to the potatoes.  If using frozen of canned veggies – just drain them & mix them into the potatoes and add the beef.

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Heat the over to 350 degrees.

I made two sizes of empanadas (you can see the two sizes below).  I used that black glass to cut these guys that were about 4″ across but the empanadas ended up very small, mostly pastry & I would have ended up with 4000 of them & arthritic hands – so – I used a bowl to cut bigger rounds & the empanadas had a better ratio of filling to pastry.  This is something you need to play around with yourself – and is why I cannot possibly give you any accurate guess at how many empanadas you will end up with.

Roll the dough out on some flour.  Cut the rounds with a bowl or glass, top with a dollop of filling & a small amount of grated cheese (if you are using cheese) & fold over.  Wet the edge to help seal the edge and pinch the edges together.  Place on a cooking sheet lined with parchment paper.  When you are ready to bake them, brush the empanadas with olive oil or melted vegan butter.

Bake about 12 minutes or until they are a nice golden color.

Devour!

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Mixed Vegetable Risotto with Fennel and Roasted Brussels Sprouts (Vegan – Vegetarian)

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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Risotto gets a bad rap for being hard to make.  If standing at the stove, stirring, for 20-30 minutes is hard – then I guess risotto is hard but really, how hard is casual stirring?  The main mistake people make with risotto is over-cooking so – as soon as it seems al dente – add the final ingredients & serve immediately because it will keep cooking as long as it is warm.

You can use any vegetables you like or lose anything from this recipe that displeases you.  The roasted Brussels sprouts are not necessary but they add a nice depth.  I suppose you could just chop them raw & stir them in with the carrots – if roasting is a pain in your arse.

This can be made vegan (obviously) by subbing out the dairy with vegan alternatives.

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Mixed Vegetable Risotto with Fennel and Roasted Brussels Sprouts (Vegan – Vegetarian)

serves 4

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 cups Arborio rice

5-6 cups vegetable stock

1 cup grated Parmesan (or vegan alternative) – optional

3 TBS butter (or vegan alternative – even olive oil)

1/2 cup dry white wine (not strictly necessary – so – you could sub out with more stock & a squeeze of lemon juice)

4 garlic cloves – minced

1/2 onion – diced

1 cup peas

2 carrots – diced

1 bulb fennel – sliced very thin

12 large Brussels sprouts – trimmed & halved

1 TBS olive oil

1 tsp white balsamic vinegar (optional)

S&P

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DIRECTIONS

If roasting the Brussels sprouts (rather than just tossing them into the mix raw when you throw the carrots in – a viable option) – heat the oven to 400 degrees.  Toss the halved sprouts with olive oil & balsamic & salt & pepper.  Lay on a cooking sheet face down (I always use parchment paper because it makes clean-up easy & nothing sticks to it).  Roast about 15-20 minutes & then turn them & roast another 10-15 – until they are browned a bit.

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Chop them up a bit if you want – but you don’t have to.  I did.  Set aside.

While those guys are roasting – bring the stock to a boil & then reduce to a simmer.

In another heavy-bottomed pan, melt the butter over medium heat.  Add the carrots & onions (and raw Brussels sprouts – if you are not roasting them) – and saute for 1-2 minutes.  Add the fennel & saute another 2 minutes.

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Add the garlic & rice & stir to coat.   Add the wine (or extra stock & lemon) & cook off the moisture.   Then add the stock, 1/2 cup at a time & not adding more until the last was absorbed.  Stir as much as possible as the motion breaks down the starches more & makes the risotto creamier – and keeps it from burning.  When you are about 1 cup away from going through all the stock – test the firmness of the risotto.  It should still have a bit of a bite but, if it is very hard still, add more water or stock to your stock pot & bring it to a boil & then a simmer again.  Add the stock until the risotto is just al dente.  Stir in the peas & cheese.  If it is too thick – add yet more stock.  If it is too wet – cook it down a bit.

Serve immediately, garnished with the roasted Brussels sprouts, extra cheese & lots of fresh cracked pepper.

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Tricolore Salad with Shaved Brussels Sprouts, Belgian Endive and Radicchio

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

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Few things are easier to throw together than salads & this salad is no exception.  Simple ingredients, clean & light & so pretty.

You could use other ingredients like – arugula or frisee (curly endive) or shaved fennel.  Whatever floats your boat.

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Tricolore Salad with Shaved Brussels Sprouts, Belgian Endive and Radicchio

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS

3 heads Belgian Endive – thinly sliced

6 large Brussels sprouts – shaved with a mandolin or very thinly sliced

1/2 head radicchio – thinly sliced

(you should have approximately the same amount of each)

1/4 cup nice olive oil

2 TBS fresh lemon juice

S&P to taste

1/4 cup or more (to taste) of grated or shaved Pecorino or Parmesan (or vegan alternative)

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DIRECTIONS

Slice up the leafy guys.  In a small jar or in a bowl – mix the lemon & olive oil.  S&P to taste.  Tweak the lemon to oil ration to suit your taste.

Toss the salad with the dressing & 1/4 cup of cheese.  Plate it up & serve with more cheese & freshly cracked pepper.

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Orecchiette Pasta with Creamy Blue Cheese, Shaved Brussels Sprouts & Arugula (Vegan or Not)

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

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A disclaimer at the top: sometimes my photographs are underwhelming – even to me.  And – in this case – the photos do not do justice to the wonderful flavors of this dish.  I shoot with my i-phone only & usually use only ambient or natural light.  When you add the additional hurdle of a full-time job – that means I am making these pasta dishes as soon as I get up & shooting them in the morning sun – before work.  In the winter, the sunlight changes pretty quickly & dramatically in the mornings & evenings.  So – one day, I might shoot a dish at 9am in great light (like yesterday) but the next day I get the dish done earlier & am shooting at 8am – as was the case today.  The 8am light isn’t pretty.  It is blue & blue is an ugly tone to add to food – especially foods in the white/cream color zone because the blue is so much more evident.  Then – trying to correct the blue – shit gets all yellow.

So – I carted this bowl of pasta all over my house trying to find nice light.  I never really succeeded – but I did get a shot of the ever-optimistic Memphis – who follows me faithfully, hoping against hope that I will drop the food (which has happened) or just decide to give it to him (which has not happened).  Look at him in the upper right of frame:

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He is so fucking cute!  And I love him too much.

Anyway – I digress.  My point was, these are not my best photos but the dish is EASY & delicious & lighter than you might guess from the photos.   Eh – fuck it.  TRUST ME – this dish is really tasty!

On another note, I get sorta frustrated always pointing out ways in which my recipes can be tweaked to be vegan or vegetarian or meat-filled.   I kinda expect a committed vegan to know how to sub out dairy & I expect meat-eaters to know they could use real meat (in my vegan meat recipes) or add it if they want it – even if I never mention it.  I am never deterred by a meat item in a recipe title because I know at least half a dozen things I can replace it with (from vegan meat to chickpeas to cauliflower etc etc).

So – that in mind, cooked chicken could be added to this.  Vegan alternatives exist for blue cheese as they do for milk & butter.   Or use real milk & butter.  But if you use real milk or butter – try to get the highest end organic stuff you can find.  I used these things in this recipe (including the gourmet salts my friend Alyse brought me back from Hawaii):

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But there is this vegan butter out there available at most large supermarkets.

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Whatever you decide – this comes together in the time it takes to cook your pasta.  You can up the dairy (or faux dairy) ingredients if you want a more Alfredo-style pasta.  I don’t like heavy sauces – so I went pretty light with this one.

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Orecchiette Pasta with Creamy Blue Cheese, Shaved Brussels Sprouts & Arugula (Vegan or Not)

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INGREDIENTS

1/2 lb pasta of your choice

1 TBS butter (or vegan alternative)

1/2 cup milk (or vegan alternative)

1/2 cup blue cheese (or vegan alternative)

1+ cup fresh arugula  (use more of the veggies to get an even lighter dish)

10-15+ small Brussels sprouts – trimmed & grated, shredded or chopped very fine (I grated mine in a food processor)

S&P to taste

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DIRECTIONS

Cook & drain the pasta.

Shred the Brussels sprouts

In a large saute pan, melt the butter over med-high heat & saute the Brussels sprouts for maybe a minute – longer if you cut yours into larger pieces but these guys should soften very quickly.  After a minute or two, add the milk & blue cheese.   Let it come to a boil & then lower to simmer & stir to melt the cheese.  Season with S&P.  Add the pasta & the arugula & heat through – letting the arugula wilt.

Serve that shit up & garnish liberally with freshly ground pepper.

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Cauliflower Noodle Lasagna with Herbed Goat Cheese Bechamel and Garlicky Brussels Sprouts and Mushrooms and Arugula Pistachio Pesto (No Carb – No Pasta)

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2014

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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Did you happen to miss my appearance on Nicole Richie’s show –#CandidlyNicole @VH1? No worries! Here it is! I show up HERE after the break – about 16 minutes in!
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AND – if you missed my hour-long Oh, Mary! Show appearance this week – well – you are in LUCK! Here are all four segments! LOTSA dirty talk! Many laughs!

Here you go!

http://jlcn.tv/shows/oh-mary/mary-episode-26-segment-01/

http://jlcn.tv/shows/oh-mary/mary-episode-26-segment-02/

http://jlcn.tv/shows/oh-mary/mary-episode-26-segment-03/

http://jlcn.tv/shows/oh-mary/mary-episode-26-segment-04/

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OK – in all fairness – this recipe has a lot of steps.  Without a food processor – it might be too much of a pain in the ass to attempt.  If you have a food processor & an afternoon to kill – this might be a fun project.  It is pretty delicious – though not particularly healthy – despite the no-carb noodles made from cauliflower.  This could be made vegan by subbing out the animal products with vegan alternatives but I will leave that to the motivated vegans out there.  I don’t think I have to say “or vegan alternative” after every egg, butter or cheese ingredient for the vegans to work it out.

I used leftover arugula & pistachio pesto that I still had from my Arugula Pistachio Pesto Pasta with Goat Cheese and Ricotta Salata.

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You can make this or any other pesto – or use a store-bought one.

Arugula Pistachio Pesto

This makes enough for at least a pound or two of pasta but it keeps well in an air-tight container in the fridge.

INGREDIENTS

6 oz fresh arugula

2 garlic cloves

1/2 cup Parmesan

1/4 cup pistachios (or other nuts)

1/4-1/2 cup olive oil

DIRECTIONS

I used 1/4 cup olive oil & 1/4 cup of water to thin the pesto.  1/2 cup of oil just seems crazy to me – but you can go all oil if you want to.

Blend into a pesto in a food processor – starting with just the 1/4 cup of olive oil.  Drizzle more (or water) in as it purees until you get the consistency you like.  Set aside.

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I made a homemade bechamel but you could use a store-bought alfredo & get much the same results.

I used chopped mushrooms, leeks & Brussels sprouts – but any mix of sauteed vegetable would work.

I used this pink Himalayan salt that I have become obsessed with but any salt will do.  And I used the Dash Onion & Herb seasoning but any Italian seasoning (or mix of onion & garlic powders) would be fine.

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I used cauliflower “noodles” in this but real lasagna noodles work, too.

No-Carb Lasagna Noodles

INGREDIENTS

1 large head cauliflower – riced (about 10 cups)

3 eggs

1 tsp salt

1 TBS seasoning (see above)

1 TBS oregano

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

I used a silicone cooking mat treated with cooking spray but greased parchment paper should work, too.  Know that this stuff STICKS  – even to the greased silicone mat – so – slather your cooking shit up.

Take the cauliflower & grate it up with the grater blade of a food processor – or with a manual grater – or get to chopping by hand until it has a rice-like look.

You can zap this in the microwave in 2 minute increments – stirring in between – until it softens but I loathe nuking things.  I submerged the cauliflower in boiling water for about 5 minutes & then drained it in a colander under cold running water.

Once it is cool, in small batches, twist the cauliflower up in a kitchen town & wring as much moisture out of it as you can.

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Then simply mix it up in a large bowl with the other ingredients & press it onto your well-greased cooking sheet (see images above).  Bake it for about 45 minutes or until it begins to brown & is cooked pretty dry.  Set aside & allow it to cool.

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Garlicky Sauteed Brussels Sprouts, Mushrooms & Leeks

I made the mushrooms & leeks first & then decided to add Brussels sprouts so my photos might show a different cooking sequence but it can be done as I will outline now.

INGREDIENTS

Olive oil

2 leeks – white sections only – chopped small

1/2 lb mushrooms – diced

1 lb Brussels sprouts – chopped or sliced fine

1 tsp each S&P

2 garlic cloves – minced

1/4 cup fresh parsley – chopped

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DIRECTIONS

It is important to cut the leeks & mushrooms & Brussels sprouts small so they do not stay too chunky & impede clean slicing of the lasagna.

I chopped the mushrooms & leeks & ran the Brussels sprouts through the slicer of my food processor.

Heat 2 (or so) TBS olive oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat & saute the Brussels sprouts until they begin to brown a bit.  Add /4 water & steam them soft.  Once the water is absorbed or evaporated – add the leeks & mushrooms & saute until tender – maybe 5 minutes.  Stir in the S&P & the minced garlic and the parsley.  Saute another minute & remove from heat.  Set aside.

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Herbed Goat Cheese Bechamel

INGREDIENTS

2 cups almond (or other) milk

3 TBS butter

3 TBS flour

2 garlic cloves – minced

8-10 oz goat cheese – room temp

2 TBS chives (or other herb) – minced (optional)

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DIRECTIONS

Melt butter in a soup pan over med-high heat.  Add the flour & garlic & whisk constantly until it thickens, begins to brown & becomes aromatic – maybe 2 minutes.

Add the milk in 1/4 cup increments & whisk it in until it incorporates & thickens before adding more milk.  This should take maybe 5 minutes.

Add the goat cheese & chives & whisk until the goat cheese melts.  Set aside.

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Cauliflower Noodle Lasagna with Herbed Goat Cheese Bechamel and Garlicky Brussels Sprouts and Mushrooms and Arugula Pistachio Pesto

INGREDIENTS

Cauliflower “noodles” (recipe above) or real (cooked) lasagna noodles

1 cup pesto (recipe above) – or any pesto you prefer

Garlicky mushrooms, leeks & Brussels sprouts (recipe above) – or any cooked veggie mix you prefer

2-3 cups grated cheese (I used mozzarella)

Several hunks of fresh (packed in water) mozzarella (optional)

Parsley – chopped (as garnish)

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

My photos show this lasagna cooked once & photographed & then reheated for a new photo session – hence the paler & more golden cheesy tops.

Prep your ingredients.  Cut the cauliflower “noodles” into three equal portions – or however you can to get some layer-able “noodles.”  Never fear if they break apart & stick a lot.  Patch the pieces in & nobody will ever know the difference.

Assemble the lasagna.  I started with a layer of bechamel (whisk it smooth if a skin has formed while it waited).  Then I added the layers in this order:

1/3 of the cauliflower noodles

1/2 of the pesto

1/2 of the veggies

1/3 of the bechamel

another 1/3 of the cauliflower noodles

the other 1/2 of the pesto

the other 1/2 of the veggies

another 1/3 of the bechamel

Grated cheese – in an amount that looks good to you – I used about 1/2 – 3/4 cup

the final 1/3 of the cauliflower noodles

the rest of the bechamel

More grated cheese & some fresh mozzarella – if you are using it

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 Bake that son-of-a-bitch fr 25-45 minutes or until the cheese is melted & bubbly & looks the color you want it to look – whether JUST starting to brown at the edges – or a bit golden all over.
Let it rest for 10 minutes or so.  Garnish with chopped parsley & eat it up!!!!

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Pasta with Crispy Brussels Sprouts and Creamy Gorgonzola and Pear

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2014

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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Untitled

vromans back

I saw these odd looking apple pears at the awesome Super King (the one in Van Nuys is FAR roomier than the San Fernando location & much more civilized) – and thought they would make a nice pizza topping.

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Ultimately – I burned out on pizza before using them so – using what I already had around – I came up with this pasta.  I made homemade spaghetti noodles – like the kind I used in this Salmon Carbonara.

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Homemade pasta really is a completely different experience than boxed but it isn’t always realistic.  I just happen to have invested in nearly every pasta making device there is & I really enjoy the process…so I make it a lot.

Anyway – this comes together in the same time it would take you to cook some dry pasta & it is full of surprising flavors.  The garlicky Brussels Sprouts & the sweet pear & the rich Gorgonzola – it is really yummy.

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You can control how much cheese to use.  Blue cheeses are really powerful & I recommend going light-handed with them – and then you get the added benefit of a fairly healthy dish that still tastes decadent.

Pasta with Crispy Brussels Sprouts and Creamy Gorgonzola and Pears

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS

1/2 lb pasta – cooked & drained

1 pear – any variety – seeded & cubed

10 Brussels Sprouts – sliced thin

2 garlic cloves – minced

Gorgonzola or other blue cheese – crumbled in the quantity that suits your taste

Olive oil

S&P

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DIRECTIONS

Cook your pasta.  Drain & set aside.

Meanwhile – heat a little olive in a pan that is large enough to hold all the ingredients – including your pasta.  Saute the Brussels Sprouts over medium heat until they begin to brown – maybe 5 minutes.  Add the garlic & pear & saute another minute or so.  Stir to warm through & then add the pasta.  Cook long enough to incorporate & warm everything & then stir in the cheese.  Stir to get the cheese creamy & incorporated & then season with S&P.

Serve!  See?  EASY!

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