As soon as I saw Mexican chef Pati Jinich prepare this dish on her PBS show, I had to make it. 🙂 I bought beautiful purple cauliflower and purple broccoli at the farm stand to make it extra special. We ate it with Mexican-Style Chipotle-Lime Pork Cutlets.
The salty, cheesy sauce was absolutely incredible. I loved how the vegetables were sliced into steaks instead of florets as well. I trimmed the tough outer portion of each stem but would remove even more next time to make that portion more tender.
This recipe was adapted from Pati’s Mexican Table and patijinich.com, via kcet.org. It was on an episode featuring dishes inspired by Isla Mujeres. I substituted creme fraiche for the Mexican crema. I also modified the method and proportions. Amazing!
Yield: Serves 6
For the Vegetables:
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (I used 2 limes)
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (I used 1 large naval orange)
3 chopped chiles de arbol or 1/2 to 1 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 cup olive oil, plus more for brushing/drizzling
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 pounds broccoli, cut into 1/4″ vertical slices, including thick part of stem (I used 2 large heads)
2 pounds cauliflower, cut into 1/4″ vertical slices, including thick part of stem (I used 1 large head)
For the Queso Cojita Dressing:
1/2 cup crumbled queso cotija
2/3 cup Mexican crema or creme fraîche
1/2 cup vegetable oil (I used Canola oil)
2 tsp sherry vinegar
2 T water
2 medium garlic cloves
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
To Prepare the Vegetables:
Preheat oven to 475 degrees F. ( I set my oven to convection roast.)
Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a glass measuring cup with a spout, mix the lime juice, orange juice, olive oil, red pepper flakes (or chile de arbol), 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper.
Place the cauliflower and broccoli steaks on the prepared baking sheets in a single layer, making sure that they are not crowded.
Evenly pour the orange juice mixture all over the vegetables.
Place in the oven and roast for 25 to 30 minutes, flipping halfway through, until well roasted and considerably charred. Remove from the oven and set aside.
To Make the Dressing & To Serve:
While the vegetables are roasting, combine the queso cotija, Mexican crema (or creme fraîche), vegetable oil, sherry vinegar, water, garlic, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in the jar of a blender or mixer. Puree until smooth. (I used a Vitamix.)
Serve the broccoli and cauliflower on a large platter and ladle the queso cotija right on top, or let your guests spoon sauce onto their plates and dip their vegetables in the sauce to their liking. (I served the sauce in a bowl on the side.)
Growing up, my mom frequently made what we referred to as “white spaghetti” (aka spaghetti without red sauce!). The pasta was coated with garlicky olive oil and topped with crispy garlic slices, broccoli florets, and Parmesan cheese. Classic. 🙂
This version is from Old World Italian: Recipes & Secrets from Our Travels in Italy by Mimi Thorisson. The recipe is included in the “Roman Pastas” section of this beautiful book. It is a little bit more indulgent than my mom’s rendition because it contains more cheese as well as heavy cream. I loved that the broccoli was chopped and incorporated into the creamy sauce.
Yield: Serves 4 to 6
1 large head broccoli and stems (about 1 pound or 450g), cut into small florets and coarsely chopped
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium-high heat.
Add the broccoli and cook until al dente, about 3 minutes. Remove with a kitchen spider or slotted spoon and set aside, keeping the water boiling to cook the pasta.
Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook to al dente according to the package directions. Drain, reserving 2 cups (500ml) of the pasta cooking water. Return the pasta to the empty pot and set aside.
Chop the onion and mince the garlic in a food processor. Set aside.
Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
Add the onion and sauté until tender and golden, about 5 minutes.
Add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds.
Add the broccoli and season with salt and pepper.
Pour the cream over the mixture and cook for 15 seconds. Remove from heat.
Transfer the broccoli mixture to a food processor and process until roughly creamy.
Add the broccoli sauce and a few tablespoons of reserved pasta water to the pot of pasta and set the pot over medium heat. Cook, tossing frequently, adding more pasta water as needed to adjust the consistency, until the pasta is well coated, 1 to 2 minutes.
Season with salt and pepper and transfer to a serving bowl, if desired. Scatter the grated Parmesan on top and serve immediately.
When I recently received spaghetti squash in my CSA box, my farm newsletter included a link to this Food 52 recipe. I had to make it after reading the first line of the article- “When you think spaghetti squash do you think snoozefest?” Maybe? I definitely hadn’t cooked or eaten spaghetti squash in recent memory.
This recipe was adapted from Food 52, contributed by Checker. I modified the proportions and method. The results were cheesy, buttery, and subtly sweet. Easy and simple to prepare and no longer a snoozefest! 😉
1 medium-sized spaghetti squash
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
4 tablespoons turbinado sugar
4 to 6 T freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 pinch coarse salt, plus more to taste
Preheat your oven to 400° F. I set my oven to convection roast.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.
Halve the squash lengthwise and scoop out the seeds.
Brush the inside of the squash liberally with the melted butter and sprinkle sugar all over the insides.
Place the squash cut side down on the lined baking sheet. Brush a little of the butter over the skin. (I used the residual butter that was left on the basting brush.)
Bake for 45 minutes to an hour, or until the skin of the squash is starting to show some brown blisters.
Use a fork to scrape out the strings of squash, loosening it so that it’s a spaghetti-like consistency.
Toss with grated Parmesan, season with salt, and serve.
My daughter recently had a camp out with a few friends in our backyard. They slept in a giant, 14-person tent. What fun! 🙂 The camping was combined with another event on their summer bucket list- a “dip-night.” (inspired by TikTok 😉 )
The girls each contributed a different dip, savory or sweet, to create the feast. We made this Mexican layer dip and served it with tortilla chips and Trader Joe’s corn dippers. The recipe was adapted from ThePioneerWoman.com. I loved that her version incorporated warm beans as the base of the dip. It was an easy crowd-pleaser.
1 can refried beans (I used Trader Joe’s Fat Free Refried Beans)
hot sauce, such as Tabasco or Cholula, to taste (I omitted it for this crowd)
1 can diced green chilies (I used Trader Joe’s mild green chilies)
ground cumin, to taste
3/4 to 1 cup grated cheddar cheese (mild or sharp)
tortilla chips (and/or other corn chips), for serving
Begin by heating the refried beans in a small pan over medium-low heat.
Add one or two dashes of hot sauce, if using, and a small can of undrained diced green chilies. Stir well.
Sprinkle the bean-chile mixture with a little bit of ground cumin. Stir to incorporate.
Spread the beans on the bottom of a glass bowl or high-sided or wide serving dish.
Sprinkle the shredded cheddar evenly over the top.
Next, dollop the sour cream over the cheese. Spread it into a single layer, as much as possible, being careful not to disturb the cheese underneath.
The next layer is the guacamole. (I used my favorite guacamole recipe (link above) using 2 avocados and garlic-chipotle salsa. This time, I omitted our traditional add-ins of chopped tomatoes and red onions.)
Next, sprinkle an even layer of shredded Monterey Jack cheese over the guacamole.
Top with a generous layer of Pico de Gallo.
Sprinkle chopped black olives over the top, if using.
Microwave an ear of fresh corn for 1 minute on high. When cool enough to handle, place upright in a bowl and slice of the kernels. Sprinkle the kernels over the top as the final layer.
Garnish with jalapeños and cilantro, if desired. Serve with tortilla chips.
I love trying new ways to use summer zucchini. Making pasta sauce out of grated zucchini is absolute genius! This dish gobbled up all of the zucchini that I received in my CSA share- amazing.
This recipe was adapted from Smitten Kitchen.com. I used bucatini (our favorite) instead of spaghetti. I also modified the proportions and method. It was a vegetarian crowd-pleaser. Super quick to prepare too.
Yield: Serves 5 to 6
3 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for pasta water, and to taste
16 ounces (1 pound, 450 grams) bucatini, cooked al dente (I used De Cecco)(can substitute with spaghetti, linguini, or fettuccine)
2 cups (470 ml) pasta water, reserved
2 1/2 to 3 pounds (about 1100 to 1300 grams) zucchini, trimmed, coarsely grated (I used 3 large zucchini- about 8 cups grated)
1 generous cup (90 grams) freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
fresh basil leaves, cut into thin ribbons (about 2 large handfuls)
Mince the garlic cloves in a food processor. Set aside.
Coarsely grate the zucchini in a food processor, emptying the bowl as necessary. Set aside.
Melt butter in a large, deep skillet or pot over medium-high heat. (I used an enameled cast iron pot.)
Add the garlic, stirring it into the butter for one minute.
Add the zucchini, salt, and red pepper. Cook the zucchini, stirring from time to time, for 13 to 15 minutes. It will first let off a puddle liquid, the liquid will cook off, and the zucchini will become soft and concentrated. If the zucchini begins to brown, reduce the heat slightly.
Stir frequently for 2 more minutes until it reaches an almost spreadable consistency.
Meanwhile, boil your pasta in well-salted water until it’s 1 minute shy of fully cooked. Before you drain it, reserve 2 cup of the pasta cooking water and set it aside. (I cooked my pasta for 9 minutes.)
Pour in 1 cup of the reserved pasta water into the zucchini and butter mixture scraping up any browned bits.
Add the drained pasta, and cook together for 2 minutes. Use tongs to pull up the zucchini butter sauce into the pasta strands, tossing frequently, and adding some or all of the remaining pasta water as needed to loosen.
Taste and adjust seasonings, as desired.
Incorporate a generous half of the parmesan and basil and mix, then transfer to a serving bowl, if desired. (I served the pasta from my cast iron pan!)
Broccolini is one of the most prized items that I receive in my CSA share. Eating it with a cheesy dip was a wonderful way to enjoy it.
This recipe was adapted from Martha Stewart Living. We ate the leftover dip with pita chips- which was also a good vehicle. It was also delicious with sliced radishes. Easy and tasty.
Yield: Serves 4 to 6 as an appetizer
1 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese
2/3 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
2 T extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
2 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
broccolini, for serving
pita chips, for serving
Bring a pot of water to a boil; season with salt. Fill a large bowl with ice water.
Blanch the broccolini in the salted, boiling water for 30 to 60 seconds, until bright green and tender. Remove and place in the ice water until cool. Drain, pat dry with paper towels, and set aside to continue to dry while you prepare the dip.
Combine the Pecorino, ricotta, 2 T olive oil, and lemon juice.
Season with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste.
Drizzle with olive oil and more pepper. (I used Tuscan herb olive oil for the drizzle.)
This cheesy pasta lived up to its title as “classic.” The combination of cheeses gave it the perfect velvety texture. We ate it as part of my husband’s birthday feast this year. Everyone loved it!
The recipe was adapted from The New Best Recipe All-New Edition from the Editors of Cook’s Illustrated. The original recipe also notes that the recipe can be halved and baked in an 8-inch square baking dish. Great.
Yield: one 9×13-inch casserole: Serves 6 to 8 as a main course or 10 to 12 as a side dish
For the Bread Crumb Topping:
6 slices (about 6 ounces) good-quality white sandwich bread, torn into rough pieces (I used Trader Joe’s Sourdough sandwich bread)
3 T cold unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces
For the Casserole:
1 pound elbow macaroni (I used Trader Joe’s)
5 T unsalted butter
6 T all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
5 cups milk (whole, low-fat, or skim okay)(I used 3 cups whole and 2 cups low-fat)
8 oz Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (2 cups)
8 oz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (2 cups)
To Prepare the Bread Crumbs:
In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the bread and butter until the crumbs are no larger than 1/8-inch, about 10 to 15 pulses. Set aside.
To Prepare the Pasta & Cheese:
Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the broiler.
Place a 9×13-inch broiler safe baking dish on a rimmed baking sheet. (I also covered the enameled handles of my baking dish with foil to protect them from the heat of the broiler.)
Bring 4 quarts of water to a rolling boil in a Dutch oven over high heat. Add the pasta and 1 tablespoon of salt and stir to separate the noodles. Cook until the pasta is tender (NOT al dente).
Reserve 1 cup of pasta cooking water (for reheating leftovers). Drain in a colander and set aside.
In the now-empty Dutch oven, heat the butter over medium-high heat until foaming.
Add the flour, mustard, and cayenne; whisk well to combine. Continue whisking until the mixture becomes fragrant and deepens in color, about 1 minute. (I used a flat whisk.)
Whisking constantly, gradually add the the milk; bring the mixture to a boil. The mixture must reach a full boil to fully thicken.
After the mixture comes to a boil, reduce the heat to medium and simmer, whisking occasionally, until thickened to the consistency of heavy cream, about 5 minutes.
Remove from the heat and whisk in the grated cheeses and 1 teaspoon of coarse salt. Whisk until the cheeses are completely melted.
Add the pasta to the cheese sauce and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture is steaming and heated through, about 5 to 6 minutes.
Transfer the mixture to the baking dish and sprinkle the top evenly with the bread crumbs.
Broil until the crumbs are deep golden brown, about 3 to 5 minutes, rotating the pan if necessary for even browning. (I set my oven to Broil+Max @500 degrees.) Cool for about 5 minutes before serving.