Posts Tagged ‘whole wheat’

Very exciting news here from the Spotted Apron kitchen – I bought my first mandoline.  In celebration of the one month anniversary of the blog perhaps?  As you can tell, it’s definitely not an expensive Williams-Sonoma mandoline but it’s still pretty awesome.  If I like it and get a lot of use out of it, then I’ll spring for an expensive one.  I have lived with the fear (which I’ve realized is very realistic) of cutting off a finger tip with the mandoline.  And sure enough I cut my thumb, not badly but enough to freak me out.  You have to be so careful with the mandoline but it can slice veggies razor thin so it’s worth the risk factor. 


Onions were my first vegetable on the mandoline for this cauliflower pasta.  I have sliced many veggies, including Yukon Gold potatoes in order to make the most delicious homemade potato chips (recipe soon to come).  But the onions in this recipe were wonderful because they added flavor and cooked quickly, allowing the cauliflower to really be the stand out ingredient.  I found this beautiful cauliflower at a vegetable stand nearby and just had to use it in a recipe.  I had never seen purple and golden cauliflower so I bought it and attempted to find a recipe that highlighted the cauliflower. 


This recipe comes from Alice Waters’s Chez Panisse Vegetables.  The cauliflower remains crunchy because it’s not steamed or boiled, instead it’s lightly sautéed.  My only complaint is that I should have added more extra virgin olive oil.  The taste of the cauliflower, walnuts, and ricotta salata all complimented one another wonderfully but there was not much of a “sauce” for the pasta.  I think you just have to go for it and coat the whole wheat pasta with extra virgin olive oil and then mix it with the cauliflower mixture.  I tend to not add a lot of oil to my recipes but the whole wheat pasta really absorbs any moisture so it can easily dry out.   This dish was even more delicious the next day for lunch. 


Oh yeah, quick tip on cutting up cauliflower…you want to end up with small little trees, not lots of crumbs.  Start at the base of the cauliflower and cut where there are natural breaks so you end up with lots of small looking trees and it keeps the natural shape of cauliflower.  Or else you might end up with breadcrumbs and lots of waste if you just randomly chop away. 


Mulit-Colored Cauliflower with Whole Wheat Pasta

Adapted from Alice Water’s Chez Panisse Vegetables

  • 2 heads cauliflower
(you can use white cauliflower)
  • 1 medium onion

  • 4 cloves garlic

  • 1 pound whole-wheat pasta
Extra-virgin olive oil

  • Salt and pepper

  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes
White wine vinegar

  • 1/2 lemon

  • 1/2 cup toasted walnuts

  • 4 ounces ricotta salata or feta cheese

1.  Put a large pot of water on to boil. Cut the cauliflower into small flowerets. Peel the onion and slice it very thin. Peel and finely chop the garlic. Put the pasta on to cook.

2.  Saute the cauliflower in olive oil in a large saute pan. When the cauliflower begins to soften, season with salt and pepper and add the sliced onion and red pepper flakes.

3.   Saute over medium to high heat until the vegetables are brown and tender. The cauliflower should still be slightly crunchy and should not taste steamed. Add the garlic and remove from the heat, tossing and stirring so the garlic doesn’t burn; if it starts to brown, add a splash of water. Add a few drops each of vinegar and lemon juice and the toasted walnuts. Taste and correct the seasoning.

4.     When the pasta is done, drain and add to the cauliflower, adding enough extra-virgin olive oil to coat the pasta thoroughly, toss together and serve, with the cheese crumbled over the dish.



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I have fond memories of bright orange mac & cheese out of the box from childhood and this afternoon, I came home tired and starving after a long morning.  I was in need of something hearty and comforting.  So of course, I searched the pantry for a random box of mac & cheese.  I got excited when I pulled out a box of Quinoa, thinking that it might be Kraft, but alas no box of processed cheese.  So I decided to be resourceful and actually make my own from scratch.  It was so quick and easy – I made it in practically the same time it would have taken to make it from a box.  Plus, it was healthier, nothing processed or artificial, and the heartiness of whole wheat pasta.

“Healthy” & Hearty Mac & Cheese

Adapted from Mark Bittman’s How To Cook Everything Vegetarian

2 ½ cups of milk (low-fat is fine)

2 bay leaves

1 pound elbow, shell, ziti, or rotini (I prefer to use whole wheat pasta)

4 tablespoons of butter

3 tablespoons of all-purpose flour

1 ½ cups grated cheese, such as sharp cheddar, gouda, provolone

½ cup of grated Parmesan cheese

Freshly ground pepper

Sea Salt

Dash of Nutmeg

Dash of Garlic


Dana’s Ingredient Notes: 

-To reduce the fat of the recipe, cut the butter in half and if you do that then reduce the flour.  Also do a mix of low-fat cheese with your regular full fat cheese. 

-For the best flavor, the key with the cheese is to have a variety.  It can be expensive if you go to the grocery store and buy 7 different types of cheese but you can also be intentional and hand-pick a good mix.  For a quick meal, just use up all the random (not moldy) cheese that is hanging out in your fridge. 

-If you had some pancetta in the house, it might not be a bad idea to sauté it and throw it in for a saltier, more Italian flavored dish.  Mix it with the pasta and cheese sauce before going in the oven.


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it.
  2. Cook the milk with the bay leaves in a small saucepan over med-low heat.  When small bubbles appear along the sides, about 5 mins later, turn off the heat and let stand.
  3. Cook the pasta to the point where it is almost done but you would still think it needed another minute to become tender.  It’s important not to overcook the pasta.  Drain it, and put it in a large bowl or casserole dish.
  4. In a small saucepan over med-low heat, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter; when it is foamy, add the flour and cook, stirring, until the mixture browns, about 5 mins.  Remove the bay leaves from the milk and add about ¼ cup of milk to the hot flour mixture, stirring with a wire whisk all the while.  As soon as the mixture becomes smooth, add a little more milk and continue to do so until the milk is used up and the mixture is thick and smooth.  Add the cheddar, salt and pepper, nutmeg, and garlic.
  5. Pour the sauce over the noodles, and toss in the Parmesan, and freshly grating a little more over the top.  Bake until bubbling and all the cheese is melted, about 10 – 15 mins.  Be careful it does not dry out in the oven.  Serve piping hot.

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