When Dom over at Belleau Kitchen originally announced his Random Recipes challenge, I never thought I would take part every month. But thanks to his challenge, I have managed to not only clean out my cookbook cupboard and alphabetise the books but also sorted through a bunch of handwritten recipes, and cooked from books I had long forgotten I even had. So thanks Dom, for getting me off my backside and making me do interesting food from books I already had, rather than chasing after the latest bestseller!
That said, the last week has been a catalogue of disasters. First I managed to nick my finger with a sink plug (yes, it happens to me!) and that meant I have had a hard time cooking and typing. How on earth can a teeny finger cause so much trouble? Then I managed to ruin my pretty antique French cake slice that was given to me by my close friend as a wedding gift, by accidentally putting it in the dishwasher, and melting the glue that held it together :-( I think it can be glued together again, but I have to give it to my father-in-law for that, and I only hope he can make it better again. Aditi then managed to tip headfirst off the sofa and cut her lip and her tooth is badly damaged, so it looks like another trip to the dentist is going to happen soon to get rid of it. The cat decided to get in the act too by falling through the ceiling tiles in the basement, making an unholy mess that needed hours to clean up!
After all this, it was a miracle I was alive, let alone managing to cook still. But I was determined not to let these things upset me, and I figured the only way to do that was to get into the kitchen and bake, bake and bake again. Ah... guess what happened then? Oh yes, I managed to crack my beautiful Le Creuset baking dish, by accidentally spilling cold water on it while it was blazing hot. Craaaackkk!!
Fine, I said to myself. I give up! Even the weather was against me, its been pissing cats, dogs and everything else in between around here!
So I whipped out the last book that I had been given, or rather won (thanks Jacqueline from Tinned Tomatoes) and flipped it open to a random recipe. The book was Ross Dobson's Market Vegetarian. I was fully prepared for some terribly hard recipe that would depress me again, but shockingly it turned out to be a pretty easy one. Spaghetti with butternut squash, sage and pecorino. Yayy! Maybe my luck was finally turning.
Of course, being me, I had to make my own pasta. Now I am not accomplished enough to make spaghetti from scratch, so it had to be linguine. I also changed the recipe a little bit, as I decided to roast the squash, garlic and sage. I didn't get pecorino, but found romano, which worked equally well for this recipe. So all in all, the recipe worked really well.
So, had my luck changed? Well, I'll let you decide that. When I was roasting the garlic, I forgot to pierce it a little bit, so the whole bleeding head exploded over my kitchen when I took it out, making another unholy mess :-) I managed to salvage enough to make the recipe, and by then I was pretty much innured to bad luck anyway, so I just scoffed in its face, and scoffed this delicious bowl of comforting food instead!
(Adapted from Ross Dobson's 'Market Vegetarian')
Enough freshly made linguine for three people (see the recipe for fresh pasta here)
1 medium butternut squash, cut into wedges, sseds scraped out
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 small head of garlic (around 6 cloves)
3 - 4 tbsp olive oil + 2 - 3 tbsp more
10 - 15 sage leaves
A small wedge of romano, grated (around 1/3 cup)
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 200 C.
Place the squash wedges in a heavy roasting tin. Sprinkle over the olive oil and nutmeg, and season a little with salt and fresh ground pepper. Pop into the oven for 45 minutes, or until the squash is soft and tender.
Meanwhile, pierce the garlic skins with a tip of a knife. Rub with a little more oil, and pop into the same roasting tin as the squash, after the squash has been in the oven for about 25 minutes.
Add the sage to the roasting tin with the squash and garlic, in the last 5 - 7 minutes of roasting. This will crisp up the sage leaves.
Once the squash, garlic and sage have been roasted, take out the roasting tin, and let cool until squash and garlic are cool enough to handle. Scrape out the flesh of the squash, and chop roughly. Pop the garlic out of its skins, and chop finely.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta in plenty of salted boiling water for about 3 minutes (or according to package instructions) until done. Drain, and toss in a couple more tbsp of olive oil.
Gently fold together the roasted squash, garlic and crisp sage leaves into the pasta, scraping in any oil that remains in the roasting tin. Stir in half the Romano cheese, and season again to taste.
Serve with the remaining cheese sprinkled over.