Our second meal idea for Valentine's keeps with our themes of deliciousness and specialness - with this colorized veggie pasta dish, sided by homemade hummus and skillet bread. Served alongside a nice and lively red blend, you have a memorable night ahead for you and your Valentine!
The Reddest Pasta
2 large red peppers, cleaned well with pulp and seeds discarded - slice into thin strips
2 pounds of Roma tomatoes, cleaned, skinned, and cut into slices
1 cup of colorful cherry tomatoes, cleaned and sliced in half
1 yellow onion, halved and sliced - one half for the roast and the second for the sauce
2 shallots, sliced -as above, one half for roasting and the second for the sauce
Olive Oil, Italian Seasoning, Dried Basil, Sea Salt, Pepper
Box of sliced brown mushrooms
Can tomato paste
Sun-dried tomatoes, granulated sugar
Before prepping, pre-heat oven to 325. After prep, arrange all items on parchment paper on baking pan and arrange to expose the surface area. Sprinkle olive oil, Italian seasoning, basil, sea salt, and pepper generously. Carefully place your tray in the top part of the oven and turn the temperature to 425. Cook for 10 minutes and check occasionally - typically effect is within 25 minutes. Vegetables should be partially cooked, steaming, with some touches of roast marks - do not burn.
Next, warm your sauce pot. After a few minutes, put in a layer of olive oil. After the oil warms, take the other half of the yellow onion and shallot and allow it to soften. Add the mushroom and give it some cooking time, allowing it to further soften.
After the roasting vegetables come out of the oven, carefully add them to the sauce pot. Stir and mash the ingredients as it simmers - eventually, all of the vegetables will break down into a familiar sauce. Add a few sun-dried tomatoes to taste.
[For pasta - start off a cooking pot with 3/4 full of water to a boil.]
Cook for a half hour, stirring constantly. Then add two teaspoons of the tomato paste and the same in sugar. Add more Italian seasoning, basil, salt, and pepper to taste. Allow it to simmer while you make the rest of the dishes - stirring occasionally, keeping the temperature low.
1 beet, any size
Premium egg noodle pasta
Clean and skin the beet, cutting it into large chunks. Boil this in 2 cups of water, don't overboil, and be careful of its very colorful juice. Set to low once it gets to heat.
We recommend not overcooking pasta - and this recipe it calls for it particularly. Cook to about a minute of the recommended time. Move the pasta over to the beet juice, allow to set for about a minute then remove to a strainer. We usually use a pat of butter over the hot pasta to keep it from sticking.
2 bags of sesame seeds, about a 1/2 cup or so
Olive Oil, Sea Salt
Toast the seeds, without any oil, slowly in a pan, getting it all to change into a warm brown color. It should also be fragrant. Remove from heat and allow to cool. In a mortar or a small food processor, grind the seeds along with olive oil and sea salt - breaking the seeds and creating a paste. Here's your tahini.
3 cans of garbanzo (chickpeas) beans, whole
Chopped or roughly chopped garlic - about 2 teaspoons or to taste
Olive Oil, Sea Salt
Juice of one-half lemon
Put all ingredients into a blender, but reserve the lemon juice. Grind the garbanzo, tahini, and garlic until a desired consistency is made. Add olive oil and sea salt to taste - it also smoothes consistency.
At the end of your process, then add the lemon juice and fold further until well blended. Serve with more robust olive oil, pimentos, and chipped garlic as desired.
Homemade Skillet Bread
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup warm water
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
Get two mixing bowls and a skillet ready.
In the first bowl, put the flour and salt and mix loosely - let it sit. In the second bowl, put in the warm water and sugar, and let it set for a moment. Then, add the yeast. This mixture must sit for five minutes.
Then, move the watered yeast mixture to the flour. Stir and fold with a fork for no more than one minute.
Cover the bowl with a cloth or a paper towel. Put this in a microwave and close the door - this keeps it from drafts. Let this set for 30 minutes.
Start to warm the skillet on very low, while you await the bread to set.
When the bread is ready, heavily flour a board and a rolling pin. Roll out the dough until you get to about an inch in thickness. We cut roughly into the desired amount of servings.
Turn heat to medium, in the pan, drop two pats of butter and allow it to mel Add bread and allow each side to cook evenly. It will reach a golden brown color - make sure it is even throughout by turning and moving around the pan.
Remove and the bread is ready to serve, buttered as is.
1 English Cucumber, cleaned, skinned and cut into finger-sized lengths
2 Carrots, cleaned, skinned and cut into finger-sized lengths
Cherry Tomatoes - cleaned and halved, yellow or purple for color
Cooked, but cooled, peas
Taste the sauce one more time for the desired taste - we find balancing with sugar, salt, tomato paste, and Italian seasoning until you are exactly where you like it.
In a new skillet, bring it to medium temperature. Spoon in a serving or two of sauce, then drop the red pasta in the pan. Stir until well mixed. We like it when the wateriness of the sauce is abated.
Serve on a plate, quickly topping with fresh basil, cherry tomatoes, parsley, and a spoonful of cooked peas. This gives a nice variation of color, texture, and taste.
Alongside the pasta, serve the hummus, vegetables, and skillet bread. We like this was a bright-tasting red blend. To finish off the meal and the palate, we like with a lemon ice.
We hope you like these ideas as you consider your Valentine's Day meal - or for any old night of the week!
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See you next week!