12 June 2011

simple green veggie sauce

I am thrilled to say that we are now experiencing an autumnal shift in weather patterns. I'm wearing a hoodie right now! In my apartment! And big fuzzy-wuzzy slippers! In June! Ah, so great. Earlier this week the Twin Cities shattered some hot weather records, which became very apparent to the rest of the country when we had the warmest temps in the continental US on a weather radar map. I feared I would have to call it quits on serious cooking and baking for some time. Thankfully, not an issue.... yet.

Today's recipe was a weird fusion of a Cook's Illustrated recipe for Broccoli & Ricotta sauce and what I could find in my fridge.  It turned out super well, was ready in a jiffy, and only required one pot and the workbowl of the food processor.  I seem to hold a grudge against simple suppers of noodles with jarred red sauce. I would rather just give up and order pizza.  It's too simple, I guess? Or not filling enough maybe? Regardless, this new idea will probably enter our rotation of quick and easy dinners.

Simple Green Veggie Sauce
1 lb. broccoli, roughly cut florets; stems peeled and cubed
1/2 lb. spinach
3 large cloves garlic (or however much garlic suits your fancy)
1 c. whole milk cottage cheese
1/2 c. shredded parmesan cheese
1/4 c. milk
1/4 t. smoked paprika
1/2 t. salt
black pepper to taste
1 lb. your favorite pasta - I suggest something curly or whirly so that the thick sauce sticks to the noodles evenly

1. Bring water to a boil in a deep saucepan.
2. While waiting for the water to boil, put cottage cheese, parm, milk, paprika, and salt in the food processor (fitted with standard chopping blade) and blend until smooth. Fun fact: If you hate cleaning the underside of the lid of the food processor, cover the workbowl with saran wrap  -- this recipe doesn't require you to add things while you're processing. Ta-da! Clean lid! Win!
3. Skewer garlic onto bamboo skewer. Once water is boiling, submerge the garlic for 30-45 seconds to mellow the flavor (raw garlic would probably make it gross). Place the blanched garlic into the workbowl of food processor.
4. Wilt spinach in the boiling water, then squeeze out as much water from the spinach as you can. I just squeeze it against a medium-mesh strainer until I'm satisfied. Add to food processor and blend until smooth.
5. Blanche the broccoli in the same water, 1 minute, until bright green and tender. You'll be buzzing it around in the food processor, so a little overdone is not a biggie.
6. Use a slotted spoon to remove the broccoli into the food processor.
7. Salt the boiling water and cook the pasta.
8. Pulse the broccoli into the sauce until you like the consistency. I tend to like mine on the smoother side than the chunkier side of things. Adjust seasonings to taste.
9. When pasta is drained, return to the saucepan and stir in the sauce. Reheat and serve. We liked it with Red Truck Red Wine. :)

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