Monday, October 4, 2010

(Non) Venn Diagram Pasta

On Saturday night, Ryan and I cooked dinner together! It was supposed to be Venn Diagram Pasta, but we ended up sharing almost all the same ingredients, so there really was no Venn diagram to be made from it, except to add in my homemade salad dressing.

Here's what we made:

Boil half a package of spaghetti.

1 jar store-bought vodka sauce
Broccoli (about a third of a large bag of frozen cut broccoli)
One quarter of a chopped red onion
Two to three cloves garlic, minced
Light olive oil

Saute the vegetables in olive oil in a frying pan. Heat sauce over low heat in a saucepan. Add vegetables to sauce, and simmer, covered, until the rest of the food is ready.

Homemade Garlic Bread:
One half a loaf of fresh French bread (sliced lengthwise)
One half stick of softened butter
Three to four cloves garlic, minced
Fresh oregano and basil, cut into small pieces

Mix the butter with the garlic and the herbs. Spread butter mixture with a rubber spatula onto bread. Wrap in foil; broil in oven on top shelf until crispy on top.

Very Basic Boring Salad:
One head Romaine lettuce
Two stalks celery

Rinse and chop lettuce and celery. Toss in bowl with homemade dressing (for Heather only - Ryan does not like dressing very much) and add homemade croutons (for both). See below for both these recipes.

Homemade Croutons:
Thanks to AS for showing me how to make these!

Half a loaf of French bread
Olive oil
(Variations: fresh-ground pepper; dry Ranch dressing mix; finely chopped herbs; chipotle powder.)

Cube the bread. Heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add bread cubes. Turn bread cubes over to brown all sides. Tongs are the easiest to use, but a spatula will work. Drain on a paper towel, and sprinkle lightly with salt.

Since the croutons are made with fresh bread, and not dried out in an oven, they are still rather moist, and can absorb dressing very quickly, making them mushy, so I prefer to toss the salad with the dressing first, and then put the croutons on.

Heather's Homemade Vinaigrette Dressing:

One part balsamic vinegar
One part olive oil
One part lemon or lime juice
Fresh minced garlic
Freshly ground pepper
Sesame seeds
Any other spices or herbs you think would be good. :)

Combine in a salad dressing mixer, or any small container with tightly fitting lid. Shake, shake, shake!!! Shake your booty! Add to salad and toss. Be careful pouring, as jars with wide mouths tend to allow the dressing to pour out really quickly!

Keep leftover dressing in the fridge, but note that the oil will harden, so remove a while before using. Shake before using.

Our thoughts/comments about the meal:
It's VERY EASY to burn the bread, so watch it carefully!
This is a meal easily adaptable to many tastes; these ingredients were just the basics.
Next time we'd like to try making vodka sauce from scratch (and want to try MS & AS's recipe!)

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