Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Macaroni and Cheeze and Pea Greens with Baked Sweet Potatoes and Acorn Squash

I know, my spelling of "cheeze" is horrible and offensive, but I feel that it needs an idiosyncratic spelling to make it obvious that no dairy is involved, even though this is a vegan space. I'll use "mylk" if I'm not qualifying "milk," too, but if I'm saying "almond milk" or "cashew milk" then I'll go ahead and use the standard spelling. But "nondairy cheese" is a mouthful, so "cheeze" it is.

I got a big box of pea greens from the farmers market last weekend. The box makes all kinds of promising claims about the wonderful micronutrients in pea greens. Whatever. The mac and cheeze turned out pretty much as I'd hoped, but the sweet potatoes and squash was a bit lacking. If it weren't for the sweetness of the potatoes I might even call it a failure. It's nice to have something simple to go with the tangy cheeze dish, but maybe I could have sprinkled something other than salt and pepper into the oil. ANYWAY...
makes approx. 3 servings

1/2 lb. macaroni
2 sweet potatoes, cubed
1/2 acorn squash, cubed
box of pea greens (2 c.? 3 c.?)
1 c. yeast flakes
1/2 c. vegetable broth
1/2 c. water
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. thyme
1/2 tsp. rosemary
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1 spoonful mustard
2 spoonfuls tahini
4 tsp. capers
1/4 tsp. salt

1. Preheat the oven to 400F.
2. Cube the sweet potatoes and acorn squash half. If you haven't dealt with hard squash before, you'll probably need more time and patience than you anticipate to cut off the rind. The skin? I bet you could find a magical time-efficient method on the internet, though.
3. Coat the bottom of an oven-safe pan with oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then toss the potato and squash cubes until coated. Stick in the oven for 45-40 minutes. If you remember, it's a good idea to check up on it once or twice and toss.
4. Heat oil in a small pan on low-medium heat. Mince the garlic cloves and cook for a minute or so. Add the broth and 2/3 of the pea greens. Let the greens cook down a little bit, then add the yeast flakes and water. Crank the heat to a boil, then lower to a simmer.
5. After the cheeze starts to thicken, go ahead and stir in the seasonings, followed by the mustard and tahini, the capers, and finally the remaining pea greens. I spaced those additions a few minutes apart. You can turn the heat real low and add some more water if the cheeze gets too thick.
6. Bring water to a boil. I heeded the instructions on my package of macaroni, which was a mistake. Never listen to the pasta company! It called for 2.5 quarts of water for 1/2 lb. pasta, which took forever to boil and was totally unnecessary and a waste of water. I'd use like 1 q. (= 4 c.) water next time. I don't make pasta a whole lot.
7. Once the macaroni is
al dente and drained, pour the cheeze sauce into the pot and incorporate.

Instant comfort! Okay, not instant, but also not too much work.

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