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Pasta, Polenta & Risotto Vegetarian

The Covid 19

April 21, 2020

It will be a miracle if I don’t gain at least 19 pounds while home alone. I’m walking, doing push ups, and crunches, plus I throw the occasional solo dance party but it’s never enough. All my efforts are defeated by my love of cooking. The thing that thrills me even more than trying on those skinny jeans and feeling them loose, is trying a recipe for the first time and absolutely loving it.

This recipe had the three magic things I look for: Ingredients I have on hand (or something close), a dish that sounds reasonably easy and delicious, and a dish that sounds healthy/somewhat healthy/almost healthy. My standards slip more the longer I’m home alone!

I saw a recipe in the New York Times Food section that sounded really good, and somewhat healthy, that would make use of the ricotta I had leftover after Easter. (The souls of my departed parents haunt me if I ever waste food, hence the determination to use everything in my refrigerator.) The Times original recipe was for Linguini with Chickpeas, Broccoli and Ricotta, but I didn’t have linguini or broccoli, so I vamped and made Pasta with Chickpeas, Cauliflower and Ricotta. Man, am I glad I did. This was delicious! But if you want to try their recipe, here is a link: Linguine With Chickpeas, Broccoli and Ricotta.

And it’s in the healthy-ish category because there’s no meat! But there is ricotta, which isn’t diet food, but is delicious. And the 1/3 cup of olive oil in it isn’t exactly low cal, but is healthy. Know what? It is absolutely worth it! And it has citrusy lemon and lemon zest, which really adds flavor while giving the impression of health, and just the right amount of heat with the red pepper flakes. Since it’s mostly veggies, I’m calling it healthy-ish.

If you’re going to splurge while stuck at home, this is a great dish to do it with. It’s really tasty, and makes enough for at least three or four servings.

I did have a funny video here to make you laugh, but can’t get it to play. If my computer-wise son comes, maybe he can help me upload it for you. Till then, stay healthy and eat well.

Oh, and if you decide to go to Costco, don’t go early…you’ll be stuck in line with dozens of seniors thinking they’ll beat the crowds. Go at the normal time, you’re better off. I went for soymilk, peanut butter and sun dried tomatoes only, waited in line for at least 20 minutes, then spent way more than the 25 bucks I was planning. On the bright side, I put 9+ gallons of gas in my tank for only 22+ bucks! I guess you can call that a win in these interesting times.

Pasta with Chickpeas, Cauliflower and Ricotta

Yields4 Servings

 1 cup dried pasta (I used farfalle)
 ¾ of a whole cauliflower cut into bite-sized pieces
  can of chickpeas (drained)
 2 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
 ½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  cup olive oil
 salt and pepper
 1 lemon
 2 tbsp butter (optional)
 1 cup ricotta (I use Galbani - it's the best - never gritty)
 grated cheese

1

Bring a medium pot of salted water to boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water and drain the pasta. Set it aside.

2

In a large bowl, combine the cauliflower pieces, the chickpeas, garlic, red pepper flakes and 1/3 cup olive oil until well coated. Season with salt and pepper. Spread it evenly on a cookie sheet and broil it for 10 to 20 minutes or until lightly browned.

3

Zest the lemon and cut it in half. When the cauliflower and chickpeas are lightly browned, remove them from the heat and add the lemon zest and the juice of 1/2 the lemon.

4

In a large saucepan or wok, melt the butter and place the pasta in, tossing it lightly.

5

Mix the ricotta with 1/3 cup of the hot pasta water until creamy. Then add it to the pasta and mix in the cauliflower/chickpea, lemon mixture. Stir over medium heat until heated through. Add more pasta water if needed for a more creamy consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve with grated cheese. Makes enough for three to four servings.

Ingredients

 1 cup dried pasta (I used farfalle)
 ¾ of a whole cauliflower cut into bite-sized pieces
  can of chickpeas (drained)
 2 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
 ½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  cup olive oil
 salt and pepper
 1 lemon
 2 tbsp butter (optional)
 1 cup ricotta (I use Galbani - it's the best - never gritty)
 grated cheese

Directions

1

Bring a medium pot of salted water to boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water and drain the pasta. Set it aside.

2

In a large bowl, combine the cauliflower pieces, the chickpeas, garlic, red pepper flakes and 1/3 cup olive oil until well coated. Season with salt and pepper. Spread it evenly on a cookie sheet and broil it for 10 to 20 minutes or until lightly browned.

3

Zest the lemon and cut it in half. When the cauliflower and chickpeas are lightly browned, remove them from the heat and add the lemon zest and the juice of 1/2 the lemon.

4

In a large saucepan or wok, melt the butter and place the pasta in, tossing it lightly.

5

Mix the ricotta with 1/3 cup of the hot pasta water until creamy. Then add it to the pasta and mix in the cauliflower/chickpea, lemon mixture. Stir over medium heat until heated through. Add more pasta water if needed for a more creamy consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve with grated cheese. Makes enough for three to four servings.

Pasta with Chickpeas, Cauliflower and Ricotta

  • Reply
    Nicol Z
    April 22, 2020 at 9:20 am

    This sounds delicious!!!

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      April 23, 2020 at 10:39 am

      I loved it Nicol, it was truly yummy. I only post things that really make my taste buds stand up and cheer. Stay well! xo

  • Reply
    margaz2013
    April 21, 2020 at 7:28 am

    The video did not play for me either. The recipe looks delicious. Al and I will try it as we cook in our sweat pants with the elastic waistbands. We love the kitchen and FOOD!!

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      April 21, 2020 at 11:37 am

      I think you’ll really like it. The lemon really adds a nice flavor. Enjoy that elastic! I LOVE mine!

  • Reply
    Emil Mitchell
    April 21, 2020 at 7:26 am

    Yep, The Video Just Sits There And Looks At Me……..Clicked It………Shucks!

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      April 21, 2020 at 11:36 am

      Bummer Emil. I’m going to see if I can get my son to help me upload it. I probably did something wrong. Thanks for letting me know.

  • Reply
    Karen
    April 21, 2020 at 5:45 am

    No video play for me Fran ☹️ This recipe is right up my alley but alas I don’t enjoy the kitchen.

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      April 21, 2020 at 11:35 am

      Awww Karen, then you must get a cook friend to make it, it’s really good! Thanks for reading and taking the time to write!

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