Sunday, March 9, 2008

Culinary Adventures

While this weekend was not the productivity fest I had hoped (such is the case with all my weekends, Hmmm, I'm sensing a pattern), I did get a chance to play in the kitchen tonight. This evening's attempt at vegetarian cooking was this little dish.

Zucchini fritters with Pasta Portobello
(... and I don't think it came out half bad, if I do say so myself..)

For the Fritters.
Grate 2 medium zucchinis and 1/2 sweet onion onto a clean dishtowel. Wrap tightly and squeeze all the moister out with your hands.
My original attempt with this was a paper towel. Kids, don't try that at home. My paper towel got soggy and ripped at the bottom and I had to then transfer my zucchini to the dishtowel I should have used in the first place.

Once drained, transfer to mixing bowl.
Two beaten eggs
4 tbs flour
2/3 cup really good pecorino Romano cheese. (grated)
Salt and Pepper to taste.
Mix it all up into a consistent "batter" and spoon into your hot skillet.

Heat enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan over medium to medium high heat. I suppose you could use any kind of cooking oil like sunflower or canola, but I'm half Italian, I use olive oil on instinct. Besides, I think it adds a great flavor, and it's really good for you.

Spoon a healthy plop of zucchini mixture into the pan and gently work it into a relatively round patty. Cook about 3-4 min on each side or until golden brown. Cook fritters 3-4 at a time depending on the size of your pan. Remove to paper towel (those guys again) or a cooling rack placed on a cookie sheet. Salt immediately and keep warm in oven as you prepare the rest of the fritters, and your pasta. (I used a 250* oven).

For the pasta
1/2 lb of pasta. ( I used Pene, but you could use whatever floats your boat)
1 pkg sliced Portobollo Mushrooms
1/2 coarsely chopped Sweet Onion
1 good handful (about a 1/2 cup)of Romano Cheese.
1-2 tsp Dried parsley. If you have it you could use fresh, just be sure to up your amounts, fresh herbs aren't as strong as dried.

Once your fritters are going, you can start your water for the pasta and cook using the specifications on the box. Now would also be a good time to coarsely chop your mushrooms and onions.
I used portobello mushrooms because, to me, they have the taste and heartiness of steak, but you could probably use any other type you wanted (or even a mixture of mushrooms. Go crazy!).

OK, your fritters are done, they have been salted and are in a warm oven staying happy. Now drain the oil out of your pan (leave all the tasty bits, and the residual oil), and place back on heat, reduce heat to medium. Throw in your mushrooms and onions. Do not salt your veggies at this point, this will cause your mushrooms to release all their moisture and it will make them kind of soggy and tasteless. Saute in the residual olive oil (you can add more if you need to) until onions have started to brown.

Add a pat of butter to the mixture and stir it in right before you add your pasta. *this is optional, but it does add a richness in flavor*.

By this time your pasta should be done. Drain your pasta, but reserve a little of the water, ohh say about 1/4 c. Throw the pasta and reserved water into your skillet with he mushrooms and onions. Mix well and add a hand full of Romano cheese. Sprinkle with parsley.

Serve with one or two of the fritters.

How's it look?


kacey said...

That looks and sounds so good! I didn't cook this weekend. My husband did. All weekend. Ah. It was so nice...

Nicole said...

Wow!! That looks REALLY good!

flutter said...

Yum, nice work!

Pare said...

Delish! (Can I come over?)

Lynn said...

Oh, wow! I wish I could get the darling husband to eat gourds. (No squash, no zucchini, no eggplant in this household. Wah!)

we_be_toys said...

Bea, that looks FAB! I'm just hurt you didn't call me to come over and try some of it - now I'm pouting!

The olive pasta bowl makes a nice backdrop for the past and fritters - nice "plating"!

Hanlie said...

Looks great!

Maggie, dammit said...

Honestly, I'm not exaggerating, I totally just drooled a little.

I'm gonna make this. Watch me.

FairiesNest said...

Look out Rachel Ray!

Oh, The Joys said...

I am gaining weight looking at that!

(Did see Ani - she is great live!)

maggie, dammit said...

I just came back here looking for this recipe. Didn't realize it was posted back on MARCH 9. You OK?

I've gone vegetarian. Thanks for giving me something to eat.

Hope you're well.


FairiesNest said...

I like the new look!

Amy the Mom said...

Found you in Dooce's comments.

Incredible looking dish! I can't wait to try it!