Wow, it has been a while, hasn’t it? I do apologise. I’ve spent most of the last two weeks in a state of exhaustion, between the demented craziness of getting the Project Grants in (an article came out on Thursday claiming that scientists last year collectively spent approximately 400 years on unsuccessful grants. While I feel that this figure is slightly exaggerated, it certainly felt like a decade or two was spent on them in the last month, and this was actually less time than I spent last year…), and some rather stressful things going on outside work. So when I go to start thinking about recipes for the next week, this happens:
Which may provide us with cute cat photos, but doesn’t lead to me doing much cooking.
Anyway, Farmhouse Direct, in their evil wisdom, chose this moment of weakness on my part to waive all delivery fees for a weekend. I was instantly and utterly distracted from grants by the prospect of big, puffy, homemade marshmallows in such delectable flavours as lemon, pistachio, rosewater or raspberry; by steamed chocolate and cherry puddings, and by buttermilk ricotta and truffle-infused butter. All of which, I must confess, did find their way into my shopping cart and have arrived in the last couple of days.
But it wasn’t all about the sugar – my soul was particularly drawn to the most gorgeous box of autumn vegetables: butternut pumpkins, capsicums, all sorts of sweet frying peppers, several kinds of chillis, huge bulbs of garlic, and a zucchini or two for luck. I could already see it in my mind’s eye, colourful and comforting and brimming with goodness.
And oh, it really, truly was. Better still, it’s the sort of goodness that I can cook with no matter how tired I am. With the possible exception of chilli (which, by tradition, I get all over my hands, which are then irresistibly drawn to my eyes, nose and lips, ow, ow, ow), these are all default vegetables for me. Even tonight, when I am both very tired and profoundly silly.
So tonight’s embarrassingly late dinner was all about comfort food – basically taking things out of my veggie box, roasting them, and stirring them through pasta. And why not? Few things taste better than roast vegetables that have gone all nice and caramelised around the edges. Stir them through pasta, add some shavings of parmesan or some chickpeas for protein, and you have the perfect meal for an autumn evening.
(Oh, and speaking of autumn, Melbourne people – yes, I’m tired and have the attention span of a goldfish right now, sorry – wasn’t yesterday’s weather *brilliant*? All those insane gusty winds that made our meeting room whistle like a demented and untalented flautist until we gave up on the meeting, and then that black sky and dashing rain, and then Melbourne going all blue skied and sunny-golden in the late afternoon pretending that it had never even *seen* a storm, oh no… And yet there are people out there who don’t like Melbourne’s weather. I don’t understand them at all. And I’m ending this paragraph now before this whole post turns into a paen of praise for Melbourne’s generous bounty in giving us all the weather we could possibly want.)
On to the recipe!
Your Shopping List
1 awesome veggie box!
1 butternut pumpkin
1 bulb of garlic
3 sweet frying peppers (sometimes they are called sweet chillies – they are long and sweet and delicious and come in red, orange, yellow, gold and green)
1 chilli, any kind
4 smallish brown onions
2 tablespoons of olive oil, approximately
1 teaspoon dried rosemary (or thereabouts)
300 g penne rigate, rigatone, or any other short pasta with enough ridginess to catch the vegetables. Spiral pasta would work, bowties, not so much
A few shavings of parmesan – I didn’t measure this, but 30 g would probably be enough.