Last week I had apple pear hand pies for my friend Ev. If you missed it, she's currently in the Peace Corps in Armenia and she asked me to prepare a meal and dessert she could make using available ingredients. The list is somewhat limited compared to what we have here which made it kind of challenging.
The dessert was easy. Fruit, butter, flour, done. But I'm a huge meat-eater, so doing an actual vegetarian meal was quite interesting. I obviously wanted to do something she could replicate over there, that was full of veggies, (health nut that I am!) and hopefully wouldn't be too expensive.
This is a simple pasta that comes together pretty quickly and relies on pantry staples. Plus, it should withstand Ev's lack of refrigeration! I simplified the recipe a little since I'm pretty sure saffron would be astronomical there, if able to be found at all. Heck, I don't even buy the stuff.
I've listed a few ingredients as optional in cause they aren't readily available in Armenia. I took a chance on lemons with the hand pies and got lucky...Phew.
For any of you trying to sneak more vegetables into your kids, this is a great way to do it. You can mash the cauliflower as fine as you need to disguise it. Thankfully my girl eats cauliflower just fine. For now.
Adapted from this recipe
Makes 4 large servings
1 head cauliflower, cut into small florets
3 tablespoons butter
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
Pinch of red pepper flakes, optional
1/3 cup golden raisins
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 bay leaves, optional
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 pound small pasta (I used brown rice fusilli)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped hazelnuts, optional
2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped, plus more for garnish
Place the cauliflower in a large pot with a steamer and a small amount of water in the bottom. Cover and steam for about 8 minutes. If you don't have a steamer, fill the pot about halfway with water, bring to a boil, and boil until cauliflower is soft. Remove from water and drain, reserving the water for cooking pasta and thinning the sauce.
In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium-high heat and cook onion, stirring occasionally until soft.
Add the garlic and red pepper flakes, cooking about 30 seconds.
Stir in the cauliflower, mashing the florets with a fork or spoon until there are few or no chunks.
Add in the raisins, tomato paste bay leaves, salt and pepper, and about 1/2 cup cauliflower water or fresh water. Allow to cook for about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain and add to the cauliflower along with the lemon juice and parsley. Remove the bay leaves.
Garnish with hazelnuts and additional parsley if desired.
I'm linking up this recipe at Mostly Homemade Mondays.