The first CSA item I decided to tackle was the romanesco. Related to cauliflower, it has a beguiling partial fractal pattern, making it quite possibly one of the most visually mind-bending vegetables on the planet:
Stare at it too long and…
After coming down from my stupor I was beset by the munchies and decided to make dinner, in this case a creamy pasta using the ever-popular creamed cashew method.
BRASSYCHEDELIC CREAMY PASTA
For the cashew cream (NOTE: I would double this next time)
- 1/4 cup cashews, soaked
- 1/2 cup of water
- 1 lb fettuccine or pasta of choice
- 1 head Romanesco cauliflower, florets removed, larger florets sliced in half lengthwise
- 2 tablespoons minced shallots
- 1 large clove garlic, or equivalent, minced
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1/2 cup dry white wine or vegetable stock
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- salt and pepper to taste
- Blend the cashews and water until completely creamy. For me, this is best done in an upright blender, but I know some people have better luck with a food processor. This strikes me as odd because I have a good food processor and mostly crappy blender that even has problems with smoothies, but whatever works works.
- Boil salted water for pasta and cook according to package directions. My fettuccine took about 9 minutes. Drain and add back to the pot with a lid to keep warm. Toss with a small amount of olive oil so your noodles don’t stick together.
- Meanwhile, heat olive oil and garlic in a pan over medium heat. When the garlic is fragrant, add the shallots and cook a couple of minutes until just soft.
- Add the romanesco, sauteeing until it starts to brown a little. Then add the wine or vegetable stock, scraping up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Add salt and pepper and chili flakes. Cover, lower the heat and let steam a few minutes, until most of the liquid has evaporated.
- Add the cashew cream and lemon juice and turn the heat up just long enough until it starts to boil slightly. Turn the heat back down and stir until the cream thickens. Immediately scrape the contents of the pan over the pasta. Toss and Feed Your Mouuuuuuuuuuth.
This was tasty but the creamy sauce was just barely enough to coat the pasta and Romanesco, which left me with a not very saucy pasta. Hence the doubling suggestion.