Friday, November 23, 2012

My Roasted Veggie and Linguica Pasta

Every chef I have ever read or seen has a roasted  vegetable pasta, all of which have been amazing.  Roasting vegetables has become a family favorite, particularly roasting broccoli and cauliflower with extra virgin olive oil, fresh grated garlic, and a little salt and pepper. Tremendous flavors!  In this recipe, I roasted cherry and grape tomatoes (red and yellow-orange, for color and flavor), broccoli, and green beans, all with evoo and grated fresh garlic, salt and pepper.  The aroma that fills the house with these vegetable combinations is amazing, and inspiring.  And while I have enjoyed several great vegetable pastas, I am a sucker for a spicy meat that stands out amidst the vegetable flavors.  I decided to use Linguica sausage, which did the trick perfectly.  

Here's my starting line-up:
2 cups fresh broccoli, sliced
1 or 2 cups prepped fresh green beans, halved
1 cup of finely sliced Linguica
1 small yellow, white or red onion, finely chopped
8 cloves garlic, grated, separated into fourths
2 pints of cherry and/or grape tomatoes 
2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon Paprika
1 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed in the palms of your hands upon adding to the sauce)
1/2 cup fresh chopped basil (wash ahead of time, place in a cup of water, and chop just before you use it) 
Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 8 - 10 tablespoons, separated 
2 - 3 tabs of butter 
2 tablespoons Champagne vinegar or Red Wine vinegar
Zest and Juice of one lemon
1 cup (at least) of grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese
1 pound of your favorite pasta  (I used spaghetti)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon anchovy paste (optional)

As the photos above indicate, roast the vegetables tossed in evoo, grated garlic and salt and pepper on a baking pan at 400 degrees for about fifteen minutes, or until you can smell the garlic.  I used two cloves of garlic per vegetable.  Trust me, it's a wonderfully memorable aroma.  The same applies to the tomatoes.  Roast them for ten minutes, just before they pop.  If they do pop, however, not to worry, as the juices become the sauce.  When the veggies are out of the oven, set them aside or place them all into a bowl to use shortly.

While the vegetables are roasting, add two tablespoons evoo to a high-sided pan over medium-high heat.  When the oil begins to ripple, add the Linguica and saute until a crust forms around the sides.  Add the onions and last part of the garlic.  Add a pinch of salt to the onions, but not a lot, as the Linguica has a bit of salt content.  When the onions start to soften and become a bit translucent, add all of the other vegetables.  Toss and add pepper, the Italian seasoning, the paprika, the lemon zest and juice, and the vinegar. Toss and saute over medium heat.  Once the fluids reduce half way, reduce the heat to medium-low, or low.  

While the sauce flavors are marrying, which will smell "out of this world Happy", add about four quarts of water to a large pot and bring the water to a boil.  Once the water boils, liberally salt the water.  Add the pasta, stir, and boil until just about al dente, or, just before done; that should be eight to then minutes. Tip:  While the pasta is cooking, this would be a good time to stack, roll and chop the basil leaves to add to both the sauce and as a flavorful garnish when you plate the pasta.  Save half or a whole cup of the pasta water and set aside for a moment.  Drain the pasta in a colander.  Add two tablespoons of evoo, or, two-three tabs of butter (you can now buy a whipped "Tuscan" butter, which I used for a glossy finish to the sauce), and add the pasta to the high-sided pan holding the vegetables.  Add half of the pasta water and turn the heat to high.  Add half of the fresh basil to the sauce.  Toss the pasta with the vegetables with tongs.  Mix the pasta and the vegetables well.  As the pasta water reduces, reduce the heat to low, or, just turn it off.  

Here's the great part:  add a quarter of the parmigian-reggiano to the pasta and sauce and toss.  Repeat until you have used the next two quarters of cheese.  Save a quarter of the cup of cheese  to top the pasta service.  So good!  When you are ready to plate, whether it is served family style or singularly, top with the parm and basil and enjoy!