Braised Cauliflower and Squash Penne Pasta

One of the items I always keep in my pantry is at least one box of chicken broth.  I reach for it when I make a quick sauce or to moisten a leftover casserole.  But more important it’s the way to fast flavorful dinners.  Obviously its used in soups, but I also use it to whip up dishes like risotto, or a one-pot meal such as the one I have for you today.

Braised Cauliflower & Squash Penne Pasta

Braised Cauliflower & Squash Penne Pasta

If I had all the time in the world, making my own chicken broth  by simmering meat, bones, and vegetables for hours would be ideal,  but I don’t, so that’s why I love boxed chicken broth.  I have cans of broth on my shelf too, for when only small amounts are needed, and I know I’ll use all of it, but for convenience, you can’t beat the box.  Pop the top and you’re ready to go.   Even when opened it keeps a long time in the refrigerator.   If you haven’t gotten around to trying boxed chicken broth, try it once for the convenience, but be sure to choose one with reduced sodium content.

A satisfying meatless meal.

A satisfying meatless meal.

This recipe for penne pasta with cauliflower and butternut squash goes together quickly, is a wonderful combination of flavors, and best of all the pasta cooks right in the broth with the vegetables, getting all that extra flavorful.  The starch from the pasta combines with the broth as it simmers and creates a thickened silky sauce.  And because its all cooked in one pot, cleanup is a breeze.  The dish can be vegetarian/vegan by using vegetable broth instead of the chicken, but expect the sauce to be a little bit darker in color.

We loved this dish as a meatless meal, served with a green salad,  but it would also be a great side dish to baked chicken, pork or fish.

BRAISED CAULIFLOWER AND SQUASH PENNE PASTA

Yield:   Makes 4 servings

Just a few ingredients.

Just a few ingredients.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • 4 cups chicken broth, or vegetable broth
  • 8 ounces whole-wheat penne pasta (about 3 cups)
  • 2 cups cauliflower florets, about 1-inch size
  • 2 cups peeled butternut squash, cut about 1-inch size pieces
  • freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup shredded Romano cheese

Directions:

1.  Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.   Add garlic, thyme and crushed red pepper and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.

2.  Add broth, penne, cauliflower and squash.  ( a quick side note:  I roasted my squash with red onions and a little olive oil, to caramelize it and intensify the flavor, then added it to the cauliflower and pasta mixture at the end.)

Add cauliflower and  pasta to the pan with chicken broth.

Add cauliflower and pasta to the pan with chicken broth.

Bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce heat to a lively simmer and cook, uncovered, until the pasta is tender and the liquid is thickened and greatly reduced, 14 to 16 minutes.  Remove from heat, stir in pepper and let stand for 5 minutes.  Serve topped with cheese.

Serve topped with grated Romano cheese.

Serve topped with grated Romano cheese.

SOURCE:   Eating Well

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My Standby One-Pan Meal

Roast chicken with vegetables, a one-pan meal.

Roast chicken with vegetables, a one-pan meal.

What I love about this meal is it simplicity;  vegetables and chicken roasted together in one pan.  The only time you spend on it is prepping the vegetables.  Put everything together with the chicken in a roasting pan, stick it in the oven and relax until its done.  If I’ve done some advance planning of my menus then I might add extra vegetables so there will be some left over for another night.

My favorite combination of vegetables include potatoes, carrots, onions, and fennel.  Other cuts of meat can be used in place of the chicken such as pork loin.  A little white wine added along with some seasonings produces a gravy that is perfect.  You can swap vegetables in and out to suit your taste;  the whole point being how easy it is to put a great meal on the table without a whole lot of work.

This is how I put it together:

ROAST CHICKEN IN WINE SAUCE

SERVINGS:   4 – 6

  • Chicken pieces:  4 bone-in thighs, and 4 drumsticks. or leg quarters cut into sections. ( dark meat is best for roasting)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper, divided
  • 2 teaspoons canola or olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 large or 2 medium ribs celery, cut into chunks
  • 1 Tablespoon garlic. minced
  • vegetables of choice, such as potatoes, carrots, fennel, turnip, cut into large chunks
  • 1/2 – 1 cup white wine (depends on amount of vegetables, i.e., more veg. = more wine)
  • 1 Tablespoon grainy mustard such as Dijon.

1.  Preheat oven to 350*F.

2.  Heat a Dutch oven over medium heat.  Sprinkle chicken pieces with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.  Add oil to pan, swirl to coat.  Add half the chicken pieces and brown on all sides.  Remove to a plate, and repeat with remaining chicken pieces.  Set the chicken aside.

Pre-browning the chicken makes the skin crisp and the keeps the chicken moist.

Pre-browning the chicken makes the skin crisp and keeps the chicken moist.

3.To the drippings in the pan, add the onion, celery, and garlic.  Cook for a few minutes till they begin to soften.  Mix the mustard with the wine, and add to the pan.  Cook for 1 – 2 minutes scraping to loosen browned bits.

4.  Add the mixed vegetables to the pan and arrange across the bottom.  Sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

Place vegetables on the bottom of the pan.

Place vegetables on the bottom of the pan.

Place chicken pieces on top of vegetables, cover and transfer pan to the oven.

5.  Bake at 350*F. for about an hour until chicken and vegetables are tender.

Moist, tender chicken and flavorful vegetables.

Moist, tender chicken and flavorful vegetables.

Note:  For the wine,  if you will be having a glass of white wine with this meal use some of the same wine for the roast chicken.  Otherwise use any wine that may be open and needing to be used up.

An easy and satisfying meal.

An easy and satisfying meal.

SOURCE:    Carolyn’s own recipe