I don’t often participate in Meatless Monday posts although we do try to have at least one meatless dinner per week. I have a husband who loves his meat. I on the other hand can do without it for days, if not weeks, on end. We have been enjoying the lovely little crop of rocket that my patio garden has blessed us with. As well as the most awesome fresh broad beans. The wind has knocked the stuffing out of the poor plants and I thought they had seen their day but this morning when I went out there I saw new flowers on them…so await another crop with anticipation! When I saw that Tandy over at Lavender and Lime had chosen rocket as her regional and seasonal ingredient for the current challenge I was rather excited at the prospect of popping out onto the patio and picking my own. How much more regional can you get than your own front garden? And seasonal as in it is out there growing right now hehe! Now the instruction, as I understand it, is for us to actually COOK with rocket. I usually use it as a salad green, or in a delicious wholewheat sandwich with smoked chicken or cheese and tomato and basil pesto…there are endless opportunities to use this awesome peppery green leaf! For those friends over on the big continent with many united states rocket will be known to you as Arugula. I must say that Rocket sounds way more spiffish to me
When you type rocket into the Google search bar this is what you find……
A rocket is a missile, spacecraft, aircraft or other vehicle which obtains thrust from a rocket engine. HAHAHA! I am SO not talking about that kind of rocket! Nooo, the rocket I am talking about is this one….(and I only found it because I had to change my search to edible rocket!!)
Eruca sativa (syn. E. vesicaria subsp. sativa (Miller) Thell., Brassica eruca L.), is an edible annual plant, commonly known as rocket, roquette, rucola or arugula. Rich in Vit C and Potassium, this leafy plant has a strong peppery taste that goes incredibly well in salads and cooking. According to Wiki it is considered an aphrodisiac. In addition to the leaves, the flowers (often used in salads as an edible garnish), young seed pods and mature seeds are all edible. And I find that out after I just returned all the seeds to the earth!
This is what I did with my rocket – I have two varieties growing, the regular larger leaf one you see in the centre of the photo and then a small, delicate, spikier leaf that was labelled Italian Rocket at my nursery….see left front and far right of the photo
BUTTERNUT PARMESAN AND ROCKET PASTA
1 Medium sized Butternut – peeled, seeded and cut into small cubes the size of a dice
1 Red Onion – chopped
1 Clove Garlic – peeled and finely sliced
1/2 Red Chilli – seeds and white pith removed and finely sliced
20ml Olive Oil
200ml Sour Cream
50g Parmesan – freshly grated
50g Blue Cheese (I used Simonzola which is a mild tasting gorgonzola type cheese)
50g Rocket – washed and roughly cut if large leaves
1 packet Penne Pasta – I used wholewheat
Salt & Pepper
Heat the butter and oil together in a large saucepan over moderate heat.
Add the butternut and toss well. Saute until the edges start caramelizing and the butternut is almost tender
Add the onion and chilli to the pan and continue sauteeing until the onion is glazed and translucent.
At this stage bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil and add the penne pasta. Cook for about 8 minutes until al dente
Add the garlic and saute very briefly, you don’t want the garlic to burn and turn bitter
Mix the sour cream and cheeses and add to the pan with the butternut. Toss all together well and turn off the heat
Season to taste
Strain the pasta through a colander, reserve about 100ml of the water for thinning the sauce if needed
Toss a drizzle of premium quality extra virgin olive oil and the rocket leaves through the pasta then add to the saucepan of butternut, together with the pasta water if you want a saucier dish.
Serve with extra rocket leaves and a grating of parmesan cheese.
My meat eater declared this a winner for our meatless days. It was more than delicious! I hope you try it yourself for your next vegetarian meal.
I am also submitting this to Ruth, for this week’s Presto Pasta Night #237 I’m surprising myself by being so on the ball :)
Enjoy the rest of your week,