Monday, February 28, 2011

Day 48: Pantry Pasta Arrabbiata, and Sweet Potato-Cheddar Biscuits

Tonight's meal come from The New Whole Grains Cookbook, Pantry Pasta Arrabbiata, and Sweet Potato-Cheddar Biscuits.  I know -- sounds like a odd combination, but I couldn't decided between the two, so why not make them both?

The pasta dish was really quick to prepare, and delicious!  I cooked the whole box of spaghetti (16 oz) instead of just the 8 oz and I'm glad I did.  I used almost all of the pasta in the dish.  I did have to add a bit of pasta water to loosen the sauce.  This recipe is a keeper!

The biscuits were a little bit of a let down.  For some reason the biscuit recipes I've tried from this book have a very odd texture -- almost like it's not cooked all the way (and yes, I've tried putting them back in the oven for a few minutes).  I'm not sure if I'll make the biscuits again.  Oh, and let me warn you -- do NOT put your hands into the dough to try and mix or knead.  After trying it their way and failing, I scraped off the dough, washed my hands, and used a spoon.  Oh, and forget about trying to use a biscuit cutter.  I just spooned up the dough, rolled it into a ball, plopped it on the baking sheet, and flattened the top just a bit.  

Pantry Pasta "Arrabbiata"
The New Whole Grains Cookbook
Yield:  Serves 4

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 large cloves garlic, chopped
1 small red onion, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 tbsp chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, or to taste
One 16 ounce jar roasted red peppers, drained and coarsely chopped
1/2 tsp coarse salt
1/2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
3 tbsp capers
8 ounces whole wheat spaghetti
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
4 sprigs basil for garnish

     Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  In a large saute pan, heat the olive oil.  Add the garlic, onion, parsley, and red pepper flakes and saute over medium heat until very soft.  Add the roasted red peppers, salt, and black pepper and continue cooking for 3 to 4 minutes, until all is tender.  Puree the mixture in a food processor, then transfer it back to the pan.  Keep the sauce warm and add the capers.
     Cook the pasta in the boiling water according to the package directions and drain thoroughly.  Add to the sauce in the pan and heat, stirring, for 30 seconds.  Chop the basil leaves and add to the pasta, toss to combine, and serve, garnished with basil sprigs.

Sweet Potato-Cheddar Biscuits
The New Whole Grains Cookbook
Yield:  12 biscuits

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar or other granular sweetener
1 tbsp fresh herbs, such as marjoram, thyme, or parsley
5 tbsp cold butter
1/4 cup buttermilk, or more if needed
1 cup cooked, pureed sweet potato
2 to  ounces sharp cheddar cheese, diced

     Preheat the oven to 400.  Spray a nonstick baking sheet with vegetable oil spray.  In a large bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar.  chop the fresh herbs and stir into the flour mixture.  Grate the butter into the flour mixture and work it in with your fingers until rice-size pieces remain.
     In a measuring cup, mix the buttermilk into the sweet potato.  Gently stir the wet ingredients into the flour mixture, using your hands to gently knead.  As it comes together, add the cheese and mix.  If the dough is too dry, mix in more buttermilk, a teaspoon at a time.
      Pat the dough out on a floured counter, about 3/4 inch thick, and cut in either rounds or squares.  Pat the scraps together to cut again.  Place the biscuits on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden and lightly browned.

Tomorrow:  Pork Tenderloin with Portobello Mushroom Sauce, and Warm Red Cabbage Salad.

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