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Posts Tagged ‘Julie and Julia’

Vegetarian Bible

After watching Julie and Julia, which is a really great movie, but Julie was such a whiney, selfish person, I decided that it was a really good idea, and I was going to steal it.  Not to try to get a book deal or even say I did it.  I am a creature of habit, I know what I like and that’s what I eat, I don’t venture too far away the norm.  Several months ago I bought a cookbook entitled Vegetarian Bible because most of the recipes sounded good and we needed more vegetables in our diets, oh and it was on the sale rack at Barnes and Noble.  I had not even cracked this cookbook since I bought it until I decided to do this little experiment.  This cookbook had 74 recipes and I will be attempting to cook them all by next Christmas.

The first recipe I attempted was Pasta Shapes with Pumpkin Sauce.  It sounded interesting and I had 2 pie pumpkins sitting in the kitchen that I hadn’t done anything with.  I started out by crying while I chopped up some really strong onions.  The recipe called for 4 oz, I don’t typically think in ounces so it’s a little over half of an onion or a pile this size.

Melt 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter in a heavy-bottom saucepan over low heat.  Add the onions and a little bit of salt, cover and cook for approximately 25-30 minutes stirring occasionally.

Next comes the hard part, dealing with the pumpkin.  I assume you can use canned pumpkin, however the recipe calls for fresh.  I started out by halving the pumpkin and pulling out the seeds.

The real bear is peeling it.  Typically I cook the pumpkin in the over and the pulp comes right out.  This recipe cooks the pumpkin in a pot on the range.  I quartered half pumpkin and it made it much easier to peel.  Be careful, this is difficult and I can see it being very easy to slice something open or chop something off.

I realize now that I did not use anywhere near the right amount of pumpkin, I misread the recipe!  It calls for 1 lb 12 oz and I only used 12 oz, I can’t imagine using the other pound, it was plenty pumpkiny enough.  I threw the mismeasured pumpkin in the food processor and chopped it until very fine.

That was the tough part of the recipe, the rest is basically just waiting.  You throw the pumpkin in the sauce pan with the onions at the end of their 25 minutes and season with a very small amount of nutmeg.  Let that cook for another 45 minutes, still on low and still stirring occasionally.

After the 45 minutes, I stirred in ¾ cup of skim milk even though the recipe calls for light cream, we’re on a diet after all, 4 tablespoons of parmesan cheese and 1 tablespoon of parsley, season to taste with salt and pepper.

Sometime during all this I boiled my pasta, I used cellentani, simply because that is what we had, any type works.  We put 2 large spoonfuls over a bowl of pasta and grated a little bit of parmesan cheese over top.  It was surprisingly good, but was still missing something.  We added a little bit of mozzarella cheese, which made it better, but it was still missing something.  We decided it was meat, we’re not vegetarians, just cooking from the book, so bacon was added.  Jeremy really liked it then, but I thought the bacon was not the right additive.  Maybe some turkey…I have tons left, I might have to try that later!

Thanks for reading my first recipe!  I’ll be back next week with the second installment, Garlic Spaghetti!  I’ll leave you with the actual recipe.


4 tbsp unsalted butter

4 oz/115g white onions or shallots, finely chopped

1 lb 12 oz/800g pumpkin, unprepared weight

Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

12 oz/350g dried penne or radiatore

Generous ¾ cup light cream

4 tbsp chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

Salt and pepper

Melt the butter in a heavy-bottom saucepan over low heat.  Add the onions, sprinkle with a little salt, cover, and cook, stirring frequently, for 25-30 minutes.

Scoop out and discard the seeds from the pumpkin.  Peel and finely chop the flesh.  Tip the pumpkin into the saucepan and season to taste with nutmeg.  Cover and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil.  Add the pasta, return to a boil, and cook for 8-10 minutes, or until tender but still firm to the bite.  Drain thoroughly, reserving about 2/3 cup of the cooking liquid.

Stir the cream, grated parmesan cheese, and parsley into the pumpkin sauce and season to taste with salt and pepper.  If the misture seems a little too thick, add some or all of the reserved cooking liquid and stir.  Tip in the pasta and toss for 1 minute.  Serve immediately, with extra parmesan cheese for sprinkling.

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