Thursday, January 29, 2009

Vegetarian Quinoa Pasta

As I came out of my workout tonight, I wanted some pasta. The problem is that I gave up all grains several months ago. The whole experience has been positive overall (less stomachaches, less acne, reduced capacity for weight gain, etc.), but sometimes, dammit, I just want some chewy, unctuous bread product!

I have recently begun experimenting (and refamiliarizing myself, in some cases) with gluten-free products. I bought a loaf of GF bread at the Farmer's Market a couple of weeks ago that was the size of a softball and weighed 5 lb, for instance. (You know that "Ezekiel 5:9 bread"? My sister and I jokingly call it "Jesus-bread"... ok, maybe it's only funny to us).

Anyway, I was strolling the aisles of the Fremont PCC (natural market - I hesitate to call it a 'co-op'. It doesn't remind me of a co-op in many ways, most of which have to do with it's being a chain of supermarkets. Health food and natural, local food DO abound in it, for which I am grateful (and they sell raw milk!), but a co-op, it is not. (refer to for an ACTUAL hippie-run community supported co-op).

Where was I? Oh yes. So, I'm in the PCC, and I spotted Quinoa pasta. I used to use this occasionally in college when entertaining GF friends, but hadn't tasted it in a while. So I bought some, and then decided to make dinner: quinoa pasta with roasted sunchokes, brussels sprouts, garlic, and parmesan cheese shaved over the top.

I preheated the oven to 400 deg F, then cut the brussels sprouts in half lengthwise, and thinly sliced the sunchokes (also called Jerusalem artichokes). Note - you don't need to peel sunchokes if you don't want to. Then I tossed them into a Pyrex dish with some olive oil, balsamic vinegar, kosher salt, and fresh cracked pepper. Threw them in the oven till I could smell them, then took them out, tossed, and stuck them back in till I was done talking on the phone with my mom. (Such arbitrary cooking times! :) ).

By this time, I had drained the quinoa (actually a blend of quinoa + corn) pasta, and coated it with a light drizzle of finishing oil - in this case, some olive oil my mom bought me that was organic and had been pressed with blood oranges. OMG so good. So I took out a bowl, heaped in the veggies, took a small scoop of pasta, added more of the finishing oil, crushed a couple of cloves of garlic (raw) and chopped them before adding them into the dish, and then topped with a generous amount of shaved parmesan cheese.

I should note that the parmesan had mold on it a few days ago. Since it is such a hard cheese, I cut off the mold, and it's back to being totally fine! Woo!

The verdict? Four Stars!!! The roasted vegetables bring a nice sweetness, the sunchokes remain crunchy through roasting, the quinoa pasta has a nice toothsome bite to it, and the finishing oil maintains it's own perfumey goodness throughout the sharp bite of the garlic.


At PCC, I also bought some turkey bacon, so tomorrow might very well see me cooking up some of the bacon to add to the dish for something different.

For Vegans, you could...just not add the cheese. :-) I'm sure it would be fine without it. You could also roast whatever vegetables you feel like and add them to it...


Okay! I have to go finish eating!! I am drinking half of a 22 oz bottle of Elysian "Night Owl" dark pumpkin ale (seasonal).

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