Roasted Cauliflower & Leeks with Arugula Pesto Pasta

As of late, there is one single factor that will motivate me to create in the kitchen – ingredients on their last leg, vegetables that may not live to see another crisp, fresh-feeling day.

Last week I purchased fennel, leeks and cauliflower to get the wheels turning. These aren’t frequent fridge visitors in our kitchen; a new ingredient means that I must make a new recipe, right? Exactly.

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Leeks were part of a list that was intended to create a Cassoulet, but that hasn’t happened yet. I can’t even recall the last time they stared at me from the fridge; who does this vegetable pair with? Where should it go? What does it taste like??

I sliced away, and made the assumption that this can be roasted, just like anything else. I also made the assumption that it can be friends with cauliflower, because that was to be roasted as well. Add in a blend of herbs, spices and oil, and you’re bound to have some sort of kitchen success!

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Roasted Cauliflower & Leeks

Heat oven to 400* and prepare a baking sheet with oil (spray or rub).

Slice 2 leeks; remove one head of cauliflower from the stalk, and cut into smaller florets. Combine in a bowl, and season with flavors of your choice!

I went with cayenne pepper (perhaps a bit too much…), nutmeg & cumin. I loved this blend, but could’ve gone a little lighter on that kicker. Add in 1 Tbsp olive oil, and mix well.

Roast for 35-40 minutes total – stirring at least every 10 minutes to prevent burning (see picture below – I could’ve done a few more “stirs”).

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Arugula Pesto Pasta

Meanwhile, get going on the rest of the dish!

Linguine Noodles (I made ~4 servings worth)
3 cups fresh arugula leaves
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 tsp Low-Sodium Soy Sauce
Salt/Pepper, to taste
2 Tbsp Chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans)– optional
1-2 Tbsp freshly grated parmesan cheese – also optional, I skipped it this time, but it’s part of a traditional pesto recipe

Cook pasta as directed. While it’s boiling, put the remaining ingredients in a Food processor and pulse until smoothly combined.

Once the pasta is cooked (al dente, of course), drained and ready to go, combine it all into one bowl.

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This has {hopefully just} a hint of spice from the roasted vegetables, but a settling, simple pleasure in the taste of arugula pesto-coated noodles.

An entirely new dish to our kitchen’s repertoire, and an entirely new way (for me) to use leeks,cauliflower and arugula (love that peppery leaf!). This is definitely filed under “experimental win!”.


What have you experimented with lately?

Any tips for leek-using to share? Next time it will either go in that cassoulet, or into a soup.

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14 Comments

Filed under dinners, food, in the kitchen, recipes, weekends

14 responses to “Roasted Cauliflower & Leeks with Arugula Pesto Pasta

  1. Christina

    Nice photos and great post. Sounds delicious, stop by and say hi,
    http://saltpepperbrilliant.wordpress.com/

  2. So funny because I bought cauliflower to roast (for the first time) this week and am going to pair it with pesto gnocchi!

  3. Yum! I don’t think I’ve ever had Leeks! At least, not roasted like that. I’ll have to try it!

  4. This recipe sounds great!! I also bought some leeks last week and just finally used one in my Split Pea and Ham soup last night. Now I know what I can do with the rest of them 🙂

  5. Emily

    Mmmm. I very rarely (um, never) use leeks, cauliflower or fennel. Or arugula, for that matter. I like the idea of using it for pesto though. As far as experimentation goes, I made lentils for the first time last night as part of sweet potato chili. Late to the party, I know, but now I’m hooked! I also have mung beans in my pantry begging to be cooked. This is weird?

    • Heather C

      1) We’ll say “fashionably late” to the party; I haven’t even shown up! Lentils were banned by a certain someone, until I recently convinced this person that they can be used in a variety of ways. I have a soup on the agenda (menu) this week, hoping to reverse the sentiment. 🙂

      2) Mung beans???…

  6. Mmm…sounds interesting, but good. Iowa Girl Eats made a cauliflower/mozarella pizza crust this weekend. Weird? I just can’t imagine how it would taste. I think I’d stick with real crust, but it sounds intruiging.

  7. I’m intrigued by the fennel, and also by the arugula/soy sauce pairing in your pesto. Looks delicious! My most recent kitchen experimentation involved a normal, boring spinach salad; some fresh Florida grapefruit; and raspberry-infused vinegar. First time I ever wanted to eat more salad for dessert!

  8. Just “leek” it to you to find a truly unique recipe. I had my first proper leek a month ago, pathetic I know.

    I am currently making a homemade caesar salad…be proud.

  9. theveryhungrybookworm

    yes please! That sounds like a surprising and wonderful combination of flavors 🙂

  10. I don’t think I’ve ever tried leek! Shame, I know!! I’ll get on it…

    • Heather C

      It’s kind of low on the vegetable radar! Usually used in soups, or as a roast with some meats/poultry. I’ll leave it up to you, though… 😉

  11. Arugala pesto is popping up everywhere – I need to try it soon!

  12. Pingback: Sauté: Pile the Pizza | Dietitian on the Run

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