It seems as if Meatless Monday has fallen into a delay pattern and become Meatless Tuesday here at Al Dente HQ. I like the idea of one meatless day a week and we had long done this unintentionally. The purpose behind Meatless Monday is pretty straightforward: take a break from meat, particularly those rich in saturated fat. The Meatless Monday concept has been a chance for me to branch out and try new things. That, I like. It hasn’t, though, led to a ton of healthy eating. As it happens, cheese is meatless. It’s loaded with saturated fat, but it’s meatless, as are carbs like pasta, rice and other grains. We have consumed more vegetables too, don’t get me wrong, but the challenge of cooking without a basic like chicken has been fun.
(If there is a reason to not like Meatless Monday, it’s the fact that Oprah-endorsed snake oil salesman Dr. Oz pushes the idea to the sheep that form a line to take whatever garbage he offers in the name of expert medical advice.)
Take tonight’s dinner, for example. It’s vegetarian, though not vegan, and has a nice shot of fat from the olive oil and cheeses. Plus the pasta, which will inevitably convert to fat during digestion. Yum!
But, this is from The Kitchn, so we shan’t worry about such twaddle as cholesterol and calories. It’s just a damn good recipe, and a pretty easy one for a Tuesday night.
WHAT WORKED: The one-pot concept. One pot, and 15 minutes of cooking? Brilliant.
WHAT DIDN’T: Onions. I added them because I wasn’t paying attention. As I was prepping my ingredients, I chopped a small onion because I thought I needed one. I didn’t. I used it. It was fine.
WHAT DID THE WIFE SAY: “This is pretty good. It was so much better than last night.” (I had an unfortunate run-in with a crockpot and a terrible off-the-shelf beef stew mix that I made to accompany some leftovers. It was horrendous.)
WILL IT MAKE ANOTHER APPEARANCE: Yes, though I might look at adding artichokes or some spinach next time.
Pasta with Roasted Red Peppers, Sun-Dried Tomatoes, & Brie
From The Kitchn
12 oz. linguine, broken in half
1 cup packed basil leaves
1 cup coarsely chopped roasted red peppers
1/2 cup sliced oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
3-4 large garlic cloves, pressed
4 1/2 cups water
2 tbsp. oil from the jar of sun-dried tomatoes (or regular olive oil)
1 tbsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste
Pinch red pepper flakes
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
8 oz. brie cheese, rind removed and torn into pieces
Grated parmesan, for serving
Good quality olive oil, for serving
Combine linguine, basil, roasted peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, and garlic in a 3-quart straight-sided skillet. Add the water, olive oil, salt, red pepper flakes, and a generous amount of black pepper and bring to a full rolling boil over high heat. Using tongs, stir and turn the pasta frequently to prevent sticking. Cook until al dente, approximately 9 to 10 minutes.
Remove the skillet from the heat. (If there is still a little bit of cooking water pour some, but not all, into a separate bowl.)
Add the brie and toss with tongs until creamy and melted. Season with additional salt and pepper, to taste. The sauce will naturally thicken up after a couple of minutes. Serve with grated Parmesan and a swirl of good olive oil. (If the pasta does seem to need liquid, add back a few splashes of reserved cooking liquid.)