Seriously... I was chatting on Facebook this morning with a friend of mine from the Lombardia region of Italy ... she was telling me that she had eaten out last night and - naturally - I asked what she had...
Pappardelle con cavoli, patate e fontina... Wide ribbon noodles with cauliflower, potatoes and fontina cheese...
So I had this cauliflower sitting in my fridge... potatoes in the pantry, fontina? check! but no pappardelle... too late to make them so.... I made a last minute substitution with the promise that next time I WILL use pappardelle...
So here's my recipe - EASY PEASY!! (serves 2)
Put a large pot of water on to boil, in the meantime clean, wash and cut the cauliflower up into flowerettes, peel and cut 1 large potato in half lengthwise and then into 1/2" slices. Coarsely grate about 2 to 3 oz of fontina cheese. I used rigatoni because that's what I had in the house, but you can use any short pasta you want. Here is the tricky part. I figured the potatoes and cauliflower take about 20-25 minutes to cook, so first I threw the cauliflower and potatoes into the boiling water. The rigatoni take about 12 min to cook, so after 10 minutes I threw about 4 oz of rigatoni into the boiling water with the potatoes and cauliflower. If you prefer you can cook the vegetables and the pasta separately, but when the pasta cooks in the same pot it absorbs all the flavor and probably some of the nutrients of the vegetables.While the pasta is cooking, in a large pan heat about 2T extra virgin olive oil and 1T butter (probably using all butter is more authentic, but who needs all that cholesterol?). I also threw in a couple of leaves of fresh sage.
When the pasta is al dente, drain the pasta and vegetables. You don't have to drain it completely. Add the pasta and potatoes to the oil and butter and toss well to coat, add the grated cheese and toss over high heat just til the cheese melts. That's it! a meal in 30 minutes or less!!
Today I needed a quick lunch. I don't make risotto very often because of the time it takes to make it! Make your broth, brown the rice, add the broth one soup dipper at a time, allow it to simmer with the rice until it is absorbed, add another... and so on, and so on! Finally at the end, add a bit of butter to thicken things up and maybe after 30 minutes (longer if you use whole grain rice like I do) you can eat.
Well! This is what I did today! I cooked my spinach and rice separately. Then I chopped up some bacon and put it in the pan to fry with a clove of garlic. While that was frying I chopped up the cooked, drained spinach. By this time my rice was just about done. I drained it and added it to the bacon mix with a couple of tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. I added about a teaspoon of bouillon powder (you can crumble up a bouillon cube) and about a quarter cup of white wine. I mixed it all together over high heat, lowered the heat and let it simmer for about 2 minutes until the rice was perfectly cooked... that's it!
Serve with grated Parmesan cheese and enjoy!!