Written by Rachel, Posted in A Cooking Show with Rachel O, Abundant Harvest Organics, Cheese, Dinner, Fruit, Kid-Friendly, Main Dishes, Pasta, Quick and Easy, Roasting, Sides, This Week's Feast, Thoughts, Vegetables, Vegetarian
This week marks a year since A Cooking Show with Rachel O made its debut into the world of culinary entertainment (or whatever you want to call it). Armed with my Minestrone Soup recipe and a lot of excitement, I began. Now, a year later, I’ve learned a lot, eaten a lot… I’m not sure which I’ve done more of… I’ve also burned myself, pinched my hand, scared the dog with my horn thingey (that was today), dropped tons of food on the floor, eaten lots of veggies, laughed a lot, knocked the iPad/second camera off the counter‚ pronounced things incorrectly, learned how to cook new things, invented dishes I’ve loved, made a few things I wasn’t absolutely crazy about, learned some more, ate some more, chopped about a million veggies, and developed a new found respect for those who wash dishes and/or edit video for a living. Neither is my favorite part of the job (although one is definitely more favorite), but both are necessary.
My favorite part of the job… favorites actually: Chopping food, the smell of Bari‘s olive oil, the smell of garlic when it hits a hot pan, photographing food, editing my photos, the inspiration that comes when I open the box of Abundant Harvest Organics produce, planning a menu, writing furiously so I don’t forget the recipe idea that popped into my brain, hearing Husband exclaim “MMMMMMMMMmmmm” after taking his first bite (it happened with this meal!), watching the dog pretend not to watch us eat because he too would like a bite, laughing at myself, eating amazing organic produce, working with a company I respect, sharing my love for food with you… I could go on for hours. I feel truly blessed to do what I do.
Thank you for being a part of that. Thanks for watching, for reading, for commenting, for telling me that you liked a recipe. It means so much to me. I create these dishes, write about these foods, share my ideas because I think they taste good. But, I also share them because I want you to enjoy them just as much as I do. I hope this is happening.
I also hope you like Mac and Cheese as much as I do. We can still be friends if you don’t, but it is one of my favorite go-to/comfort/quick meals. I know it’s tempting on a tired night to grab a box of the really quick stuff. I’m not judging if you do. I’ve done it. Buuuut, I’ve also discovered that homemade Mac and Cheese is almost as fast. Really! You have to wait for the water to boil regardless. So while you’re standing in the kitchen, starving, staring at the water, willing it to boil, trying to keep from eating peanut butter out of the jar with a spoon, grab some milk, olive oil, salt, pepper, and flour, grate some cheese and make a simple sauce. If you have a few more minutes, roast some fennel and add it to some sautéed onion and garlic. It’s a good idea.
I didn’t think I liked fennel. Then I roasted it. Roasting is the key to making almost any vegetable a thousand times better (even though I usually like them just the way they are! Here’s how: Buy olive oil (personally, I like Bari‘s). Turn on oven. Combine olive oil with halved fennel. 350F. Done. Boom. Roasted. Good right?!
Now it’s your turn. Have fun!
- 1/2 to 1 C onion, chopped
- 1 fennel bulb, halved
- 3-4 T plus 1 t olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, diced
- 1 carrot, grated
- 1/2 to 1 t salt
- 1/4 t pepper
- 1 t apple cider vinegar
- 1 1/2 C cheese (combination of Gruyère and Parmesan), grated (1/4 C reserved for topping)
- 2 T flour
- 1/4 C cream
- 1/2 to 1 C milk
- 1/2 to 1 C vegetable stock
- 1/4 C pasta water
- 2 C pasta
- 1 pear, thinly sliced (for topping)
- Drizzle fennel with 1 t olive oil and a pinch of salt. Place cut side down on baking sheet. Bake at 350F for 25-30 minutes (or until fennel is tender).
- Cook pasta.
- Heat pan over medium heat. Add 2 T oil. When oil is hot, add onion, carrot, and a pinch of salt. Cook 3-5 minutes. Add garlic and cook 2 minutes more.
- When fennel is done, remove from oven and let cool slightly. Chop. Add to pan with veggies.
- Move veggies to one side. Add 1-2 T more oil. When it’s hot, whisk in 2 T flour, cook 30-60 seconds. Slowly, a little bit at a time, whisk in milk, stock, cream, and pasta water. Let it thicken a little after each addition of more liquid. Add pasta water. Cook until just before it boils.
- Remove from heat and whisk in cheese, apple cider vinegar, and pepper. Taste and add more salt if needed.
- Toss pasta with sauce. Top with thinly sliced pear, and top pear with cheese and a pinch of salt and pepper. Bake for 15 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly and melted.
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