Hey, folks, it’s bargain day at FOODalogue. I created 4 recipes for this party dish, one for each layer. But each could stand alone and be used in a variety of ways. I encourage you to play around and have fun! I always do!
My original title for this post was “In the FOODalogue Test Kitchen”. Why? Well, it’s complicated…but I’ll try to explain.
I was attending an Italian wine and food pairing (everyone brings a dish and a wine). I wanted a dish that would spotlight vegetables, like roasted cauliflower. Also, I’ve been on a pumpkin kick lately…so I thought I’d make a pizza and instead of a tomato sauce, I’d make a creamy pumpkin base and then I’d top it with roasted cauliflower.
Call this plan 1.
It was delicious, but…
Pizza goes to pasta (no photo)
Plan 2 came about because as the numbers of attendees increased, I felt the pizza would be too difficult to divide and, more importantly, to transport so I decided to use the same ingredients and flavor profiles but instead of pizza, I’d make pasta. Everyone was happy.
Enter Plan 3.
After I made those wonton crackers a few posts back, I started to think about using them as the pasta element and serving vessel for the pumpkin and cauliflower. Each ingredient would stand on its own whereas in a pasta, it would have been muddled.
Plan 3 really worked! It was easily transportable since I kept each component separate until I got to the party. Once there, it was easy to assemble. And everyone loved it!
Parmesan Pasta Crackers
(This is a simple one!)
Layer wonton skins on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
Bake in 400 degree oven.*
*watch carefully, it only takes a few minutes to brown.
Each of the following layers was seasoned with a mix of dry seasonings (coarse salt, freshly ground black pepper, sage*, chili flakes, oregano, ground fennel seed – and freshly ground nutmeg in the pumpkin).
pumpkin, ricotta, parmesan, sauteed onions before blending
1/3 cup slow-sauteed onions with dry sage*.
1 cup pureed pumpkin (unsweetened).
1/2 cup part-skim ricotta
2 heaping tbs of parmesan cheese
dry seasonings + fresh grating of nutmeg
mix well with fork
(If you make it in advance and refrigerate, as I did, put it in the microwave for a minute to take chill off.)
My Extra Special Roasted Cauliflower
I highly recommend using this kind of bacon in your cooking if it is available in your supermarket. I’ve been using it for years…it’s 50% less fat and it’s packed with flavor.
(Check out all the ingredients on this one – you know it has to be delicious!)
1 large head cauliflower stemmed and cut into small florets
1/4 cup chopped sundried tomatoes
2 piquillo peppers minced (1/2 roasted red pepper)
several tablespoons pesto* to coat everything
2 tbs chopped calamata olives
2 tsps capers
handful chopped parsley
3 garlic cloves minced
crumbled (peppered) bacon
3/4 lb mozzarella diced small
Mix together and roast in oven at high temperature (400); add mozzarella about 5 minutes before serving (or when reheating to serve).
Toasted Bread Crumbs
Finish with sprinkle of whole wheat panko crumbs, parmesan, crushed almonds and dry seasonings which have been mixed and ‘fried’ with a drop or two of extra virgin olive oil in a hot skillet. Add a little orange zest for brightness.
Blogger Lament: I missed my usual reds + greens on the plate and found this a difficult dish to photograph (plus the wine I consumed didn’t help my technical skills).
Trust that it delivered in taste and presentation.
*The wine I chose to pair with this dish was G. Scopetani Chianti Ruffina, 2008. It was medium-body with less tannins than other Chianti Classicos.
Cooking Notes: I served 20 appetizers with this recipe and had leftover pumpkin sauce and crackers. Aside from the fact that I’m having a lot of fun with these wonton crackers, another plus is they have good staying power. Treat them as you would any cracker and they will remain crispy.
*sage: dried in oven and crumbled.
*pesto: You know the drill…basil, garlic, nuts, parm and evoo.
Our next event is Spanish wines and tapas. Ain’t we got fun?