Thursday, March 31, 2011

What's for Dinner: Shells with Roasted Cauliflower, Chickpeas and Ricotta

I had this recipe from a recent edition of Everday Food. I love chickpeas, and roasting them gave them a great slightly crunchy, nutty quality. I was a huge fan, but my famiy did not seem to agree, as most of the chickpeas on their plates stayed there. We've had -- and loved -- roasted cauliflower before, and I know there's a recipe for some type of pasta with roasted cauliflower that I've tried that was enjoyed more than this one. Lots of leftovers too - I have a feeling I'll be the only one enjoying them.

Shells with Roasted Cauliflower, Chickpeas and Ricotta
(from Everyday Food)

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
1 head cauliflower (about 2 pounds), cut into florets
1 can (15.5 ounces) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
Coarse salt and ground pepper
5 ounces crusty bread, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (2 cups)
1 pound medium shells
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup fresh ricotta

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees, with racks in upper and lower thirds. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss together 2 tablespoons oil, cauliflower, and chickpeas; season with salt and pepper. Arrange cauliflower and chickpeas in a single layer and roast until cauliflower is tender and chickpeas are crunchy, 25 minutes. On another rimmed baking sheet, arrange bread in a single layer and toast until golden and crisp, 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta until al dente. Drain pasta and return to pot. Add cauliflower mixture, 2 tablespoons oil, and parsley. Season with salt and pepper and toss to combine. To serve, top with croutons and ricotta, then drizzle with oil.

Refocusing... a little

The other day I was scrambling to come up with a shopping list for the grocery store. Again. I do it every week, but somehow I always struggle with it. There are the basics I pick up every week - bread, milk, yogurt, juice - but when it comes time to plan out what I'll need for dinners that week, I struggle. In general the first thing I reach for when I'm putting together my list isn't my recipe box - it's the new food magazine or cookbook I've picked up. I'd much rather make a new recipe that's right in front of me than track down a recipe that I've used before.

That sounds really odd. But it's easier for me -- for some reason my mind suffers from memory loss when I think about those past dinners. There are some recipes that I've kept in mind, but many others I just can't remember. I've tried dozens and dozens of recipes and I have no clue where they came from, whether the kids liked them, or even if I wanted to make them again. I'll just have a vague recollection of a chicken recipe I liked, but nothing more. So I'll try out a new recipe for chicken, and then forget about that one too. I'll bet I've tried at least a dozen different recipes for macaroni and cheese, all from different sources, likely all bookmarked on my iPod or computer, but I have no clue which ones we really liked, which ones were not worth the effort, etc.

I was thinking about this last night and starting thing how helpful it would be to have a place to catalog the recipes I've tried, with a link or text of the recipe itself along with a few notes about the recipe, whether we liked it, if it was easy, if the kids enjoyed it. I was thinking I could start a new blog focusing on dinner and other recipes I'm trying, which would mostly be for me, but others might find use for too.

And then I thought, why not use this blog? My knitting and crochet projects aren't as frequent as I would like, certainly not often enough to  have a regular posts about them. I'm making dinner just about every night though, so it seems like it would be a good fit.

So I'll be adding something new to the blog, called What's for Dinner (I know... creative, right?). It will likely be every couple of days, with photos, a few notes and the recipe. Maybe you'll find some new recipes you'd like to try too.