Monday, September 20, 2010
I always love it with my sister comes down to visit for the weekend. During this particular late summer visit, we took in a local hike, picked blueberries, and topped it off with a little thrift store shopping. For dinner, we made a roasted beet and fennel salad with a mix of gold and purple beets using a recipe from our CSA newsletter. We also made Ellie Krieger's recipe for penne with zucchini and mint. Both dishes turned out really good, in our opinion. I love roasted beets and fennel, but this was the first time I'd ever cooked them together. I loved the pasta dish because it used whole wheat penne and lots of mint from my garden.
Roasted Beet and Fennel Salad
adapted from Gathering Together Farm's CSA newsletter (after a quick internet search, this is where they got the recipe)
Serves 3-4 (I give that range because I feel like it should serve 4, however, there were only three of us, and we managed to eat it all!)
4 small beets (or 2 large beets), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch wedges
2 thyme sprigs
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large fennel bulb with fronds, bulb cut into 1/2-inch wedges, 1 tablespoon chopped fronds (I didn't use the fronds because I didn't have any)
1 teaspoon sherry vinegar (I didn't think that was enough to do anything, so I doubled that amount)
Preheat the oven to 400 F. In a 9 x 13 baking dish, toss the beets with the thyme (don't take the leaves off the sprigs, just throw the whole thing in there!), the water, and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Cover the dish with foil and bake for about 40 minutes, or until the beets are tender. Discard the thyme sprigs and loosely re-cover the dish with foil.
Put the fennel wedges into a small baking dish. Toss with the remaining one tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 15 minutes, then uncover and bake for another 15 minutes, until the fennel is tender and lightly browned.
Pour or spoon out any accumulated beet juices into serving dish and whisk in the vinegar. Add the beets and fennel wedges and toss to combine. Sprinkle with the fronds and season with salt and pepper. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Penne with Zucchini and Mint
adapted from Ellie Krieger - So Easy
Serves 4 (5-6 if you are serving other sides with it)
12 ounces whole wheat penne pasta
1/4 cup olive oil
4 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 medium zucchini (about 8 ounces each), sliced into 1/4-inch thick half moons
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (about 1 1/2 ounces)
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
Fill a large pot with water and bring it to a boil. Add the penne, cook according to the package directions.
Meanwhile, heat a large deep skillet over medium-low heat and add the oil and garlic. Cook for about 6 minutes, stirring often, until the garlic is lightly golden. Don't let it burn, it will make it taste bitter. Add the zucchini next. Cover and cook for about 6-8 more minutes until the zucchini is tender. Remove the skillet from heat. Stir in the lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
When the pasta is done, drain it, then return it to the pasta pot. Add the zucchini mixture, the Parmesan cheese, and mint. Toss to combine, and serve.