From Humble To Gourmet

Another Friday has come and gone. It has been a long one. I should be in bed sleeping, and yet here I am, sipping on some coconut rooibos tea, writing up a post because I just had to share with you my dinner from this evening. Yes, it was that good.

Even after a long day that involved waking up way too early after not a lot of sleep, work, naps, Zumba, and various other little chores, I was still able to put together something that tasted gourmet that didn’t involve a lot of effort, and would even be budget friendly – something a student like me can appreciate.

Dinner started out as a bunch of humble ingredients…

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…and eventually produced this beautiful dish.

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My idea for this dish evolved from a recipe for a cauliflower pasta in a Rachel Ray cookbook that caught my eye. I thought I might just make it as written. Then when I got a bottle of truffle infused olive oil for my birthday, I knew I wanted to incorporate that. I wanted to add a source of protein – hence the chickpeas. But all my ingredients were beige/white/brown, so I went looking for a pop of colour by adding some spinach.

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It all came together when I decided to turn the spinach into a sauce. I roasted the chickpeas and cauliflower to add an extra layer of dimension (as well as texture), but you could easily leave that step out and still have a great pasta dish, especially if you are short on time.

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Although I didn’t have a nice wine to pair with my dinner, I did have a little rhubarb crumble tart from the farmer’s market to enjoy for dessert.

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I added the fresh blackberries, just because.

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Roasted Cauliflower & Chickpea Pasta with a Truffle-Infused Spinach Sauce

Serves 4

For a gourmet pasta meal that won’t break your budget, try this mixture of roasted chickpeas and cauliflower in a spinach sauce with just a hint of white truffle oil. Not only are you getting great flavours, but this dish is high in fibre, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, and iron. How can you go wrong? 

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  • 1 19 oz (540 mL) can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained well
  • 1 small head of cauliflower, chopped into small florets
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 4 cups dried pasta, fusilli, penne, or rotini
  • 1 lb (454 g) baby spinach
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 ladles (~3/4 cup) pasta water
  • 2 tsp white truffle infused olive oil
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan
  • sea salt & pepper, to taste

1. Preheat oven to 425 F.

2. Spread chickpeas on baking sheet and roast 10 min. Remove from oven, stir around, and roast another 10 min. Remove from oven again, and toss with 1 tbsp olive oil plus salt and pepper to taste. Put back on baking sheet, and roast again for 10 min (watch them – they’ll burn easily!)

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3. While chickpeas are initially roasting, toss cauliflower with 1 tbsp olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Roast for 20 min, stirring halfway through.

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Side note – I actually used this garlic pepper to season both my chickpeas and cauliflower. Feel free to add some garlic powder to yours if you’d like.

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4. Cook pasta according to package directions until al dente. Drain, reserving some pasta water for the sauce.

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5. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, sautéing until translucent.

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6. Add spinach to wilt, then add stock and reserved pasta water.

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7. Remove from heat, add truffle oil, and blend sauce ingredients either in a blender or with an immersion blender until smooth. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper as needed.

8. To serve, combine pasta, cauliflower, chickpeas, and sauce. Plate each serving, and top each with 2 tbsp shredded parmesan. Add an extra drizzle of truffle oil to finish, if desired.

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Note: If you are short on time, skip roasting the cauliflower and chickpeas. Substitute a different flavour infused olive oil if you don’t have truffle oil, or don’t like it. Although the oil itself might not be cheap, a little goes a long way!

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Tags: , , , ,

Categories: Dessert, Dinner, Recipe, Vegetarian

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4 Comments on “From Humble To Gourmet”

  1. August 28, 2010 at 9:58 am #

    Ever since on saw your tweet about your messy kitchen, I’ve been excited for your recipe here. You did not disappoint! YUM!

  2. August 28, 2010 at 1:10 pm #

    Isn’t truffle oil the yummiest thing ever? It elevates pastas to a whole new level!!!!

  3. August 29, 2010 at 11:20 am #

    the rhubarb tart was my fave!

  4. August 31, 2010 at 10:39 am #

    Great meal, Marianne!

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