Warm Cauliflower Salad with Farro, Butterbeans and HerbsAunt Suzy says . . . 

The most recent Bon Appetit is chock full of what look to be fabulous things to cook and bake, so I thought I’d better get started.  This recipe contains only a few ingredients and none of the usual suspects of garlic, onions or shallots so I was curious about the flavor profile of the finished dish.  I kept thinking “I should have added some garlic!” as I was cooking this, but am glad I didn’t – it is a WOW with many layers of flavor.  The added bonus is that it was a snap to make!  We served it with roasted chicken breasts and a green salad, but I can also see it as a first course or a vegetarian main dish.  An Italian Pinot Bianco was a perfect wine pairing.

1/2 cup pearled farro (or barley)

1 1/4 cups water

1 1/2 teaspoons mayonnaise

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

juice of half a lemon

5-6 tablespoons EV olive oil

1 head cauliflower, cored and cut into florets

1 small can butter beans (or gigante or corona)

1/2 cup flat leaf parsley leaves, chopped

1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped

zest of 1 lemon

Cook the farro: Place farro in a saucepan with the water.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30 or so minutes until water is absorbed.  Place in a large bowl to cool. Set aside.

Make the dressing: Whisk mayo, mustard, lemon juice and 4-5 tablespoons olive oil in a small bowl until emulsified.  Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

Cook the cauliflower:  Place 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the cauliflower when oil shimmers.  Cook for 10-12 minutes, uncovered, until browned in places, turning occasionally.  Add 2 tablespoons water, then cover and cook for 5-8 more minutes until the cauliflower is tender.  Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper.

Assemble the salad:  Turn the cauliflower, while still hot,  into the bowl with the farro.  Add the butter beans and stir to combine.  Add the dressing and stir to thoroughly blend.  Next add the parsley, oregano and lemon zest and toss to blend all ingredients.  Enjoy!

COOK’S NOTES:  I adapted the BA recipe in a few ways. The original recipe called for barley, but I had farro on hand so used that. I think it would be good with either and possibly brown rice.  I also used less mayo than called for and believe it could be made without it altogether.  Also called for was tarragon, which I didn’t have so I substituted fresh oregano – I’ve been looking for uses since our plant is doing really well in the house this winter. I found the canned butter beans locally at Whole Foods – it took some searching!

 

Creamy Chickpea Pasta with Garlic-Rosemary Oil

Aunt Suzy says . . .

We’ve started something new here at Sweet and Savory Kitchens – Pasta Wednesdays. The idea is something quick and easy to make on a weeknight without sacrificing freshness and deliciousness. I got the idea when I made the Garlic and Kale Linguine a while back, so technically that could be considered our first Pasta Wednesday post. While this recipe (from last month’s Bon Appetit) isn’t quite as fast, it definitely fits. It caught my eye because I had some Garlic-Rosemary oil in the fridge left over from when I last made this soup. The quantities in that recipe always make more of the oil than we use at the time so I was happy to learn of a good additional use for it. And this is good! This can be a weeknight main dish or you can serve it, as we did, as a side to roast chicken or fish. Delicious with a creamy Italian white wine.

Margaux says…

I’m loving Pasta Wednesdays! Mainly because it helps give me a sort of direction when I’m meal planning for the week. We do Meatless Mondays at my house, so that’s two days now that I have narrowed down a little more. Now maybe I should add a pizza night in there, to make my job even easier…

This dish is fantastic…even my finicky 4-year-old gave it a thumbs up. We ate it as a main dish, with plenty of leftovers (which I love…makes lunches easy!!) I made it with white beans and penne pasta (as seen on Smitten Kitchen…see cook’s notes below). The white beans because that’s what I had on hand, and the penne because that’s what my son chose, and these days I’ll make anything he picks just so he’ll eat what I make for us. I probably would have chosen rotini, because i like the way sauces like this stick to the pasta. It was really great with the white beans, but next time I’m going to try it with the chick peas, which sounds really fantastic.

Use this recipe to make the Garlic-Rosemary Oil

1 medium onion, cut in chunks
1 medium carrot, peeled, cut in chunks
1 celery stalk, cut in chunks
4 whole garlic cloves
1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste
1/4 cup olive oil
3 cups water
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 15-ounce cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
10-ounces small pasta shapes (I used Lumachine – see Cook’s Notes)

Place the first 6 ingredients into a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Place into a bowl and clean the food processor bowl. Set both aside. Alternatively, if you do not have a food processor, you can finely chop these ingredients and then blend together in a bowl.

Place the olive oil into a large heavy pot or skillet (I used a saute pan) over medium heat. Once shimmering add the chopped vegetables. Saute for 10 or so minutes, until golden, stirring regularly. Meanwhile, stir the tomato paste into 1 cup of water to blend. When vegetables are cooked, add the tomato water and blend thoroughly, scraping up any bits stuck to the pan. Let simmer until liquid has almost disappeared, 5-8 minutes.

Creamy Chickpea Sauce

Add the chickpeas and 2 cups water to the pan. Stir to blend and then simmer for 15 minutes covered and 5 or so uncovered. Put 1 cup of this mixture into the food processor and puree. (You could use a blender for this in the absence of a food processor.) Add back to the pan and stir to blend. Taste and add salt, if needed. I did not add salt to the sauce – even with rinsing, there was plenty of salt in the chickpeas.*

Meanwhile, cook the pasta al dente according to directions. I emphasize al dente because otherwise I think you could end up with a gloppy mess. Part of the goodness of this dish is mouth appeal, and you do not want to lose that with overcooked pasta! Reserve a cup of pasta water before draining. Add drained pasta and 1/2 cup pasta water to the chickpea sauce. Stir to blend, adding more pasta water if necessary to coat the pasta and attain a creamy consistency. Pass the Garlic-Rosemary oil so it can be drizzled on individual servings. Don’t hold back on this key component of the finished dish!

COOK’S NOTES: I was looking at Smitten Kitchen the other day and saw something that looked similar to this except with white beans and penne pasta. On closer look, it was her take on the Bon Appetit recipe. (You can check it out to see several great photos of the cooking process.) Regarding the pasta, the original recipe called for a full pound of Ditalini and suggested elbow macaroni as a substitute. I think any small pasta shape would work well. I cooked the whole pound as instructed, but felt that it was way too much pasta and didn’t stir it all into the sauce. I will definitely make this again and try whole wheat pasta, thinking it will add to both taste and texture.

*Margaux’s note on the salt…my boys like their food on the saltier side, so I definitely needed to add more salt. I added about a teaspoon of it.

Garlic and Kale Linguine

January 18, 2013

Garlic and Kale Linguine

Aunt Suzy says . . . .

The basis for this dish is a great recipe from Cook’s Illustrated for classic spaghetti with garlic and olive oil which I made recently.   Last week I saw another recipe for spaghetti and kale with similar ingredients but without the scientific technique of the CI recipe.  Randy and I both agreed that with or without the kale, the CI dish is outstanding.  The kale makes it just that much better and healthier!  This could be a main dish or a side.  Shown is a main dish portion, and we have also served with sauteed boneless/skinless chicken breast.  Either way, an Italian white,  Orivetto or Pinot Grigio, is a great accompaniment!

Makes 4 main dish or 6-8 first course servings

4 garlic cloves, peeled and processed through a garlic pressOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

1 teaspoon water

1/3 cup high quality EV olive oil

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional or to taste

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 bunch lacinato kale, tough stems removed and cut into ribbons

1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted in a skillet

1/2-1 cup grated Parmigiana Reggiano (omit for vegan)

3/4-1 pound whole wheat, regular or GF linguine or spaghetti

Place processed garlic in a small bowl and add the teaspoon of water.  Heat the olive oil to a little over medium in a saute pan.  Add the garlic, optional pepper flakes and kale and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring regularly until garlic is golden and kale is soft.  Set aside.

Toast the pine nuts in a dry small skillet over medium heat.  Shake the pan regularly and watch carefully so they don’t burn!  At today’s prices especially that would be a shame. Set aside.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta al dente according to package directions.  Before draining, save 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water.  Drain the pasta and rinse briefly.  Put the pasta back in the pot it was cooked in and place over medium heat.  Add the reserved kale mixture along with part or all of the pasta water and toss to combine thoroughly.  Heat through, stirring.

Place on individual plates and top with a little cheese, if using, and some pine nuts.  Alternatively, if you will be eating all of what was cooked, you can stir the cheese into the pasta before serving.  Then top with the pine nuts.

Aunt Suzy says . . .

Recently I asked my brother John to do a guest post on the stuffed pumpkins he makes, but when he sent me the recipe I changed my mind. Instead of a guest post, I decided we should do a joint post!  He’s been telling me about these pumpkins for a couple of years, but I’d never attempted them.  Since I was travelling to his house for Thanksgiving, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to learn from the master.  Since there were so many options for the stuffing, we decided to experiment with three slightly different fillings.  I thought it would be fun to report on the results of the variations.

Uncle John says . . . 

This recipe comes from an NPR story from a couple of years ago featuring Dorie Greenspan’s stuffed pumpkin recipe.  This struck me because I was looking for something to do with winter squash beyond the typical sweet recipes made with butter, brown sugar or maple syrup.  I particularly liked the flexibility of Dorie’s recipe – you can use many different approaches to the ingredients and proportions of the stuffing.  I’ve experimented over the last couple of years and landed on our favorite ingredients.  I’ve also developed a philosophy of how to make sure you have the right amounts and proportions.  I’ve never had anyone eat these pumpkins who didn’t say “wow!”.

Savory Stuffed Pumpkins

For this recipe, we will not provide exact amounts but the “philosophy”  ingredients and amounts.  Half the fun of making these pumpkins is inventing the stuffing.  Here are the guidelines, as well as the instructions for how to assemble and bake:

Start with the pumpkins:  Select pie pumpkins at about 3 pounds.  This size will serve 2 people as a main dish and 4 people as a side.  In our experiment, we tried a red kabocha squash and thought it superior to the traditional pumpkin, but either work well.  Cut a “lid” out of the top of the pumpkin/squash by running a sharp knife around the top at a 45-degree angle. Set the lid aside – do not discard. Scoop out the seeds and use a spoon to remove the strings from the flesh.  Wash out the cavity and then dry with a paper towel.

Determine the amount of stuffing: Uncle John’s trademarked technique is to fill the cavity with water and then pour into a measuring cup.  This will tell you the capacity of  the pumpkin, determining the total quantity of ingredients.

Decide on your ingredients: The stuffing is comprised of a starch base, a meat flavoring, cheese (optional), vegetables, aromatics and spices – the exact ingredients and combinations of which are variable.  Here are some guidelines.

Starch base options – cooked brown rice and stale bread cubes will form the base. We cooked both and liked the rice better, but the bread was good as well.

Meat flavoring – we used sage breakfast sausage and bacon and think ham would work as well.  Whatever your choice, it must be cooked prior to combining with the other ingredients.  I can also see a vegetarian version with a combo of chipotle peppers and chickpeas or black beans.

Cheese – we used sharp cheddar with sausage/rice stuffing and pepper Jack with bread/bacon.  Gruyere, Swiss, blue and Parmesan would all be good options.  We made the kabocha without cheese and it was delicious.

Vegetables – we used cooked spinach and cooked Lacinato kale and thought the kale more flavorful as well as substantial.  Cooked Swiss chard, peas and Brussels sprouts leaves also sound good.

Aromatics and spices – for savory fillings you will want sauteed onions and garlic at the least.  Add celery, carrots and bell pepper to your taste.  We used fresh thyme and in the bread stuffing added nutmeg.

Binder – heavy cream or half and half are recommended to bind the ingredients together. We think stock could be used for a non-dairy version.

Other options – I’d like to try this with nuts and fresh or dried fruits.  Speaking of which, you could take this in a whole different direction with a sweet rice or bread pudding approach to the filling.  But that might have to be another blog post.

Prepare the filling and stuff the pumpkins: Combine all stuffing ingredients in a bowl.  A guideline is roughly 1/3 starch base, 1/3 meat and 1/3 vegetables, which you can vary according to taste.  To this, you’ll add the aromatics, spices and other ingredients until you get slightly more filling than the capacity of the cavity of the pumpkin/squash.

Place the filling in the pumpkin and pack down.  Add 1/4 to 1/3 cup heavy cream, half and half or stock. Place the “lid” back on the pumpkins.

Baking the pumpkins: Place the stuffed pumpkins on a foil-lined baking sheet.  Place in the center rack of a preheated 350 oven and bake for about 90 minutes with the lids on. Don’t be alarmed by the liquid escaping from the pumpkins – that’s natural.  After 90 minutes take the lids off and bake another 20-30 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let sit for 30 minutes.

Serving:  Depending on size, cut in half or into wedges to serve.  Or if small, individual pumpkins could be served to eat right out of the shell.

Making ahead:  These reheat really well in the oven.  We made the pumpkins in the morning, then cut in half, put back on the baking sheet and baked at 350 for 30 minutes.  Delicious!!

Main Dish Spanish Rice

July 10, 2012

Aunt Suzy says . . .

This dish was inspired by a recipe in Sheila Lukin’s All Around the World Cookbook.  It was a somewhat typical recipe for the Mexican dish we know as Spanish Rice, with Chorizo and an abundance of tomatoes added.  I thought it would be even better with lots of vegetables and started building my recipe from there.  I make a vegetarian version of this just as often as I make the recipe with Chorizo – instructions and ingredients for both are included.  I thought to make this because we had an open bottle of Spanish Rioja, which turned out to be an excellent match.  A Mexican beer – light or dark – goes really well also.  I often serve this with orange and avocado salad as it complements the richness of the dish.  I made a watermelon-cucumber salad yesterday, which also was a refreshing companion.  In addition to use as a main dish, this can be served as a side to grilled fish/meat or tamales.

Please note this makes a mega amount (8-10 servings), so the recipe can be easily halved, although leftovers at a later date are delicious.

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium white or yellow onion, small dice

1 large or 2 medium carrots, small dice

2-3 garlic cloves, minced

2 Spanish-style Chorizo sausages, fully cooked, split lengthwise and sliced in half-moons (omit for vegetarian)

1/2-1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, rinsed and diced, use for vegetarian

2 cups long-grain brown rice

1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, preferably fire-roasted

3 cups chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth (water for vegetarian)

1 summer squash (yellow or zucchini), diced

2 cups green beans, ends trimmed and snapped in half

1-2 cans black beans, use for vegetarian

3/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro or parsley

Drain the tomatoes, using a strainer over a quart measuring cup.  Add enough chicken stock or water to the strained liquid to measure 3 1/2 cups.  You may not use all 3 cups of stock/water.  Set aside the liquid and the drained tomatoes.

Steam or simmer the green beans to desired doneness.  I like just past tender crisp for this dish.  Drain and set aside.

Heat a large saute pan on medium-high heat and add the olive oil.  Once shimmering, add the onion and carrots.  Turn down heat to medium and saute for about 5 minutes.

Add the garlic and Chorizo and saute for 2-3 more minutes.  For vegetarian, add the garlic and the chipotle pepper.  Next add the rice and saute for another 4 or so minutes, stirring constantly.

Add the tomatoes, the 3 1/2 cups of liquid and the diced summer squash.  Bring to a bubble, then turn down heat and simmer, covered, until done, 50-60 minutes.

When liquid is fully absorbed, remove from heat and let rest for 10 minutes.  Stir to combine ingredients, then stir in the green beans, black beans if using, and any other vegetables you are using.  Let sit for a few minutes to heat up these last additions.  Finally, stir in the cilantro or parsley or pass these for garnish at the table.

NOTES ON INGREDIENTS:  I do not salt and pepper this dish due to the high salt content of many of the ingredients.  I find it plenty flavorful without either, but add according to your taste.  When making the meat version, I like to use AmyLu’s Chicken Chorizo, but I have used pork Chorizo and both chicken and pork Andouille sausage in this dish.  Make sure you are using fully cooked vs. fresh Mexican Chorizo sausage.  The original recipe called for white rice, but once I started using brown rice the dish with white paled in comparison :-). I’ve been thinking this would be nice with 2 cups of diced fresh tomatoes during season (vs. the canned), but haven’t tried it.  Other vegetables can be added such as green peas or corn, and I think this would be good with thinly sliced radishes and avocado as garnish.  Lots of options!

Aunt Suzy says . . . 

This recipe was in the same April 2012 issue of Bon Appetit as the Spicy Chicken with Rhubarb Salsa and looked to me to be the perfect accompaniment – and it was!  This was fairly easy to make and I have a hunch it will be in regular rotation along with our other favorite rice sides, Green Rice and Sparkle Rice.  All three are great served with chicken and fish.

Makes 4-6 servings

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 1/2 teaspoons black, brown, or yellow mustard seeds

1 1/2 teaspoons ground turmeric

1 small onion, minced

3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1 large or 2 small Fresno chiles or red jalapeños, cut into thin rings

2 cups white Basmati rice

4 2×1-inch strips lemon peel (yellow part only)

3 cups water or chicken stock

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/2 cup roasted cashews

Heat the oil in a heavy medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add the mustard seed and tumeric and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring, until the mustard seeds start to pop.  Add the onion, garlic and the chile and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly to make sure the tumeric doesn’t burn.  Add the rice and stir to thoroughly coat.  Add the lemon peel, the liquid and the salt.  Bring to a boil, turn down heat and simmer over low heat until the liquid is completely absorbed, 15-20 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice.  Let stand 10 minutes, then fluff with a fork and stir in the cashews.

Kristi’s Ratatouille

October 16, 2011

Aunt Suzy says . . .

I love stocking my freezer this time of year with goodies made from the abundant produce available.  One of my favorites is ratatouille.  It freezes well and there’s nothing like thawing and heating up a batch in the dead of winter to get a hit of late summer goodness!  I’ve made ratatouille for this purpose for many years, but I wasn’t ever 100% satisfied with the results.  While the flavor was always delicious, the end product was mushier than I like.  A few years ago I was talking with friend Kristi Mattson about making ratatouille – she has a big garden and was also making some for the freezer.  She shared her method of roasting some of the vegetables before putting them in the pot to cook the ratatouille.  This was the solution to getting both outstanding flavor and texture.  The ingredients are the same, but this method makes a big difference!  In addition to serving this as a side dish to grilled salmon or roast/grilled chicken, we love tossing it with pasta with a generous sprinkling of parmesan cheese!

Ingredients

Olive oil for tossing with each vegetable
5 medium bell peppers, mixed colors, cut in 1-inch squares (I used 2 red, one orange and 2 green)
6-7 small-medium zucchini and/or yellow squash cut in 1-inch cubes
7-8 small-medium eggplants, cut in 1-inch cubes
1/4-1/3 cup olive oil, for sauteing
5 medium onions, cut in 1-inch chunks (I like a mix of red and yellow)
6-10 garlic cloves, minced (depending on size)
20-ish plum tomatoes, peeled and chopped (totaling 4-5 cups after chopping)
1/3-1/2 cup fresh oregano, chopped (I particularly like Greek oregano in this recipe)
2 tbsp fresh lemon thyme
Fresh basil and/or parsley, chopped,  for serving
Salt  and Pepper to taste

Instructions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  You will roast the bell peppers, zucchini/yellow squash and eggplant.  First, toss each vegetable lightly with olive oil and turn into a foil-lined jelly-roll or large roasting pan.  Roast  for about 12-17 min, stirring half-way through.  The vegetables will be done when they are just starting to show a few browned spots.  (I found that I needed 2 pans for the eggplant and 1 pan each for the peppers and zucchini with the above quantities.)  Turn onto a large platter or oblong glass baking dish. Set aside and cool.

In large stockpot or dutch oven, heat the olive oil and sauté the onion until beginning to brown, about 10 or so min on med-high heat.   Add the garlic, oregano and thyme and sauté until fragrant, about a  minute.   Add the roasted peppers, zucchini, eggplant, and the tomatoes and their juices.  Stir just to combine.

Bring all to a bubble, then turn down heat and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes.  Take the lid off the pan, turn up heat slightly and simmer, uncovered, for an additional 30-45 minutes, until the liquid reduces.  During this time, check every 10 minutes to make sure the bottom layer is not burning.  Stir a little, but don’t over-stir in order to preserve the shape of each vegetable.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Right before serving, stir in the basil and parsley.   If freezing, omit the basil and parsley step and put in containers and place in the freezer.

When using later after thawing, stir in a gremolata of the following, right before serving.

2 tablespoons finely minced fresh basil and/or parsley, 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest, 1-2 finely minced cloves of garlic. Adjust amounts to how much ratatouille you have.  This can be used even when not freezing – it brightens the flavor but is especially fabulous when using frozen/thawed ratatouille.

COOK’S NOTES:  This method is a 3-4 hour project, but is definitely worth the time.  The quantities given made a little under 4 quarts finished product.  This is a recipe where you can definitely adjust the quantities to your taste or need for amounts.


Aunt Suzy says . . .

I love sweet corn but like eating it off the cob more than on.  This is my basic way of sauteing corn, but other vegetables can be added (tomatoes and limas would make succotash!) and the herbs can be varied.  Heartier herbs like oregano, thyme, sage and rosemary are best added with the corn.  If using tender herbs like basil, mint and cilantro, add these right before serving. We served this with our lemon-garlic grilled chicken and a delicious sauteed kale dish we posted last summer – it felt like the perfect meal for a delightful summer day.

4 servings

1 yellow or red onion, thickly sliced, each slice cut into quarters

1 tablespoon EV olive oil

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Kernels cut from 6 ears of corn, about 3 cups

1 tablespoon fresh thyme

1 tablespoon fresh oregano, roughly chopped

1/4 cup basil, cut in chiffonade

Salt and pepper

Heat a large saute pan to medium high, add the olive oil and heat till shimmering.  Turn down heat slightly and add butter.  Add onion and saute for 5-7 minutes till soft and starting to brown.  Add corn, thyme and oregano and saute for another 5 minutes or so until corn is heated through.  Remove from heat and stir in the basil.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Aunt Suzy says . . .

This recipe is a riff on Aunt Cindy’s Artichoke, Edamame and Asparagus salad.  She had raved about that salad to me the week before I was having friends over for a cookout.  It occurred to me that this would be a great basis for a pasta salad, and I just went crazy from there making adaptations.  Like the A.E.A. salad this is based on, it was such a hit that it’s been made for more than one recent event.  Thanks to niece Sarah for suggesting the cherry tomatoes.  We served this with grilled chicken and Spring Farmer’s Mkt Potato Salad, which made for a great summer meal.

The Dressing

3 tablespoons EV Olive Oil

juice of 1/2 lemon

2 tablespoons fresh oregano, minced

Juice of 1-2 cloves of garlic, using a garlic press

Salt and pepper to taste

Whisk all ingredients together in the bottom of a large salad bowl.  Set aside at room temperature.

The Salad

1 can or jar of artichoke hearts, drained (I like the ones with stems from Trader Joe’s)

1 pound asparagus, tough ends removed

1 lemon, thinly sliced crosswise

1/2-2/3 pound small dried pasta shapes

2 pints cherry tomatoes (I used the multi-colored ones from Trader Joe’s), cut in half

1/2-3/4 cup fresh mint, chopped

1/2-3/4 cup fresh basil, chopped

Pre-heat the oven to 425° and place the top rack one down from the top of the oven.   Pat the artichokes and asparagus dry.  Line a cookie sheet or broiler pan bottom with foil and cover lightly in EV olive oil.  Place the asparagus, artichokes and thinly sliced lemon on the foil and turn to coat all items with a little olive oil.  Place the pan in the pre-heated oven and roast for 7-10 minutes until done.  The asparagus does not need to be turned, but you will want to turn the artichokes and lemon slices a couple of times.  I found that the artichoke hearts and lemon could go longer, so I removed the asparagus after 7 minutes and placed the pan back in the oven for about 5 minutes more.

Cut the cooked asparagus into 2-inch lengths and the artichoke hearts into small pieces.  Cut the roasted lemon into small dice.  Add these ingredients to the dressing in the salad bowl.

In the meantime, cook the pasta al dente according to package directions.  Drain and let cool.  NOTE:  I did not like the shells and used spirals the next time I made this – much preferred!  Add the cooled pasta to the bowl and toss to thoroughly blend and coat everything with the dressing.  Add the cherry tomatoes to the salad and stir to blend.  Lastly, add the mint and basil, stir to blend.  Taste and add salt and pepper if needed.  Let sit at room temperature to blend the flavors for at least 30 minutes.

Aunt Suzy says . . .

This tasty and healthy salad was introduced to us by “Aunt Cindy and Uncle John” (my brother and his wife).  They had recently made this for Cindy’s niece’s bridal shower and loved it so much they made it for Mom/Granny’s 86th birthday party.  I discovered the original recipe on Health.com.  Two adaptations were made from the original – roasting the asparagus instead of adding it to the edamame cooking water and using marinated artichoke hearts vs. plain. We all agreed that this is a “keeper”!  It’s fast, easy to make, delicious and impressive.  When we saw that they were using a jar of pre-shaved Parmesan cheese purchased at Costco, we thought this recipe would fit right in with the Sandra Lee semi-homemade approach :-).  So if you use the pre-shaved cheese, it’s even faster to make!

These quantities make 4-6 servings and the recipe can easily be made in larger quantities by doubling or tripling.

Ingredients

1 garlic clove, peeled and halved lengthwise
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 (14-ounce) jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
1 cup frozen shelled edamame (green soybeans)
1 pound medium asparagus, tough ends removed, and cut diagonally into thirds
1 ounce shaved Parmesan cheese (about 2/3 cup)

Instructions

1. Rub the inside of a large salad bowl with cut sides of the garlic clove; discard garlic.

2. Add oil, lemon juice, oregano, salt, and pepper to the bowl and whisk until slightly emulsified. Add the artichokes, tossing gently and set aside at room temperature.

3. Meanwhile, place the edamame in a large pot of boiling salted water and cook 2 minutes. Add the asparagus and cook until asparagus and edamame are crisp-tender (about 3 minutes). Rinse under cold water, drain well, and blot dry with a towel or paper towels.  FOR ROASTED ASPARAGUS:  Cook the edamame for about 5 minutes, drain and pat dry.  Oven roast or grill the asparagus whole, lightly coated with a little olive oil.  Once done, cut into 2-inch pieces.  Proceed to step 4.

4. Add asparagus and edamame to the artichoke mixture and toss to blend.  Arrange shaved Parmesan over all and serve.