Friday, March 26, 2010

A long absence

Okay, so this time I'm actually back, and with recipes/reviews to boot.  I think this will be easiest if I do it chronologically.
So this is way back on the 11th.  When my parents were here, one of the things we did (so typical that it involved food) was check out Mona Lisa Pasta.  One of my friends had told me about the week before, telling me she buys her pizza dough there.  And then when I ate at The Local, I noticed that some of the dishes on the menu said they used Mona Lisa Pasta.  It's actually a pretty cool place - you go in and they have a lot of items for sale in the front, along with a counter where you can get your cut-to-order fresh pasta, all kinds of bread, pizza, etc.  And you can eat there as well.
They have a lot of pasta flavors, from what I can remember they had - roasted garlic, garlic and parsley, garlic and rosemary, squid ink (very interesting), saffron, mushroom, lemon pepper....probably more that I am forgetting.  They also had many different cuts - angel hair, spaghetti, linguine, fettuccine...
They also had a lot of really yummy looking bread.  I'm definitely going to have to go back.  Once I have a properly working oven, and I acquire a pizza stone, I want to use their whole wheat pasta dough to make some pizza!
But anyway, my parents and I loaded up on the pasta.  I got 1/2 pound of the roasted garlic, and they got 1/2 lb each of the garlic and rosemary, garlic and parsley, and mushroom.  They told us it would last for up to a week in the fridge, uncooked.  And it only takes 90 seconds to cook!  (It may have taken mine a bit more than that, but was still really quick.)
I had to think of a way to use the pasta.  I wanted to keep it simple, so the garlic flavor could shine through.  I decided to do some simple roasted veggies with the pasta, and toss it with goat cheese to create a sauce.

Recipe: Roasted Garlic Pasta with Asparagus, Onions, Tomato and Goat Cheese
1/2 lb fresh roasted garlic fettuccine
1 lb asparagus
1 large red onion
2-3 roma tomatoes
olive oil
a few oz goat cheese, crumbled
s&p to taste

Preheat oven to 400 F.  Cut all of the veggies into chunks.  Put in a foil-lined baking pan (like a lasagna pan) and drizzle with olive oil.  Add s&p.
Meanwhile, heat water for the pasta, add some salt.
When the veggies are just about done (tender and starting to brown - this might take 30-40 minutes, depending on how big your veggies are), add the pasta to the boiling water.  If you are using fresh pasta, make sure to separate the strands otherwise you'll have one big congealed mess of pasta.
When the pasta is cooked, add directly to the pan of veggies.  Toss them all together, making sure to scrape up the bits of veggie that stuck to the foil (the best part).  Since this makes a lot of pasta, I like adding the goat cheese to each individual serving.  Crumble some right over your hot pasta, and toss so the cheese melts and you get a "sauce."  If you are using leftovers, microwave for 1-2 minutes after adding the goat cheese.

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