Saffron Cream Pasta with Cauliflower, Tomatoes & Chili Flakes (Vegan Option)

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

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

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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That photo is un-retouched & shot in natural light.  So – yes!  That pasta really IS that color!  Pretty to look at but with the delicate flavors of saffron and cauliflower – this is a delightful pasta dish.

I found this great saffron liquid at Super King for $7.

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That is a way cheaper option than saffron threads but saffron threads will be easier to find, I suspect.  I actually made this twice because the first time I made it – I made it with whole wheat fusilli & I didn’t like the photos.  This dish above was made with regular linguini.   The first time I made it, I used white wine & ghee (clarified butter).  The second time, I used regular butter & skipped the wine.  I think they tasted pretty much the same so I am going to post the one I made this morning.  There is only a tiny bit of the heavy cream per serving so do not be alarmed.  It isn’t as rich as you might fear.

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Saffron Cream Pasta with Cauliflower, Tomatoes & Chili Flakes

INGREDIENTS (for two very healthy servings)

1/2 lb dry pasta or your choice

1 small head cauliflower cut into bite-sized florets

2 large shallots – minced

2 tomatoes – diced

2 TBS ghee or butter (or vegan alternative)

1/2 cup heavy cream (or vegan alternative – almond milk should work fine)

1/4 cup dry white wine (optional)

1-2 TBS olive oil

1 generous pinch (1/2 a tsp or more) saffron threads steeped in 1/4 cup hot (not boiling) water OR 1 TBS (or more) saffron liquid from a bottle

Crushed red pepper to taste

Salt to taste

White pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

Steam the cauliflower for about 5 minutes.  Set aside.

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Heat the olive oil over medium heat & saute the shallots until just soft but not browned.  If using wine – add it now & cook it off for about a minute.  Or just skip ahead.

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Add the ghee or butter and the heavy cream & the saffron.  Simmer over medium heat until it reduces by about half.  Add the tomatoes & the steamed cauliflower.

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Add salt & white pepper to taste.

Cook the pasta according to instructions, drain & add directly to the pan with the saffron sauce.  Combine thoroughly.  Serve with lots of crushed red pepper.

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Brie Pizza Two Ways ~ With Mushrooms, Thyme & Pistachios or with Honey, Apple & Red Onion

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

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

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These were inventions born of items on hand.  I was uncertain about the use of brie & how rich the resulting pizza might be.  Not a huge fan of honey, I was also concerned that the flavor of the honey pizza would grow old quickly and may be better suited to an appetizer than a dinner recipe.  So – I made a single pizza two ways.  The result was pretty delightful.  The brie was not overpowering – even though I used a cheap brie.  The real secret, I think, to success with the apple-brie pizza is ultra thin slices of both apple & the red onion – as in – papery thin.  With the mushroom pizza – searing the mushrooms & garlic into a nearly caramelized submission before using them on the pizza.  I am not going to give any real measurements in these recipes as the ratio of ingredients is really a matter of taste.  Both of these pizzas were delicious & both would work wonderfully as appetizers.

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Pizza with Brie, Mushrooms, Thyme & Pistachios

INGREDIENTS

Pizza dough

Brie – chilled & sliced into thin squares

Mushrooms & garlic – sauteed in olive oil & salt until browned

Fresh thyme – chopped

pistachio nuts

Arugula

Pizza with Brie, Honey, Apple & Red Onion

INGREDIENTS

Pizza Dough

Brie – chilled & sliced into thin squares

crushed red pepper

honey

green apple (or other tart apple) – sliced very thin

red onion – sliced very thin

ASSEMBLY

Roll out the dough.

For the mushroom pizza – simply layer brie then thyme then mushrooms & pistachios.  Bake in an oven pre-heated to 450 for about 10 minutes or until done.  When done – top with fresh arugula leaves.

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For the honey-apple pizza – spread a thin layer of honey, sprinkle crushed red pepper & then layer apple & red onions.  Bake in an oven pre-heated to 450 for about 10 minutes or until done.

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