Sunday, October 17, 2010

Roasted Autumn Vegetable and Pasta Gratin

Sometimes indulgence is needed...I guess I was feeling like I was in need of a bit of comfort food tonigt, maybe it was the chill in the air or the lack of sun, but I decided that something creamy and with pasta would be nice.  So I dreamed up a roasted autumn vegetable and pasta gratin, and got set to making it! It was basically a fancy mac and cheese, but what would be the fun in calling it that?  Plus, my mac and cheese is always filled with vegetables.  Maybe I am not a purist, but I believe that they must be included.  You have to have some healthful element afterall!  When I need comfort food, I like it to be beautiful as well, so I roasted a wide range of colors of them...carrots, parsnips and brussels sprouts, as well as some leeks.  The orange carrots were the most beautful of course, but the green brussels sprouts and leeks, and yellow parsnips provided some variety.  It was almost like the colors of autumn leaves!  For my creamy sauce I used what I had on hand, but the theme seemed to be goat.  Goat milk, and goat gouda...that is why I say it had a goat theme.  Now, don't be thinking it was "goaty" in any was absolutely delicious and creamy!  I love goat gouda for its flavor and ability to melt into things like gratins!  I also added some pecorino romano as well for saltiness even though it is not made from goat milk, but sheep.  I topped my fancy mac and cheese off with a crunchy panko walnut mixture before baking to bubbliness, and it was all really wonderful when it emerged from the oven all gooey and cheesy!  But even more wonderful was taking a bite with the crunch of the topping and the richness of the cheese...Mmmm!  The roasted veggies lended a slightly sweet flavor against the saltiness of the cheese which was delicious!  This isn't for anyone who just likes regular old mac and cheese with noodles and sauce but no veggies, but if you want to take advantage of autumn veggies as well as have a big bowl of comfort you should definately try this out! 

Roasted Autumn Vegetable and Pasta Gratin
Serves 4

2 large carrots, thinly sliced
2 large parsnips, thinly sliced
12 brussels sprouts, halved
2 leeks, thickly sliced
olive oil
8 oz whole wheat penne pasta (or other short pasta)

2 Tbsp olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 cups goat milk
4 oz shredded goat gouda cheese
2 oz shredded pecorino romano cheese
1 tsp dried thyme
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup walnut pieces

Preheat oven to 475 degrees, and line two baking sheets with foil and non-stick spray.  Toss carrots and pasnips with just enough olive oil to lightly coat, and spread out on one of the sheets.  Do the same with the leeks and brussels sprouts and place them on the other.  Roast in the oven for about 15-20 minutes until browning at the edges and tender.  Remove from the oven and set aside, but keep the oven on.  Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions, and keep warm.  To make the sauce, heat olive oil in a large stockpot, and add the garlic.  Saute until fragrant, one minute, then add flour and cook another minute to get the rawness out.  Add milk slowly and whisking constantly to prevent any lumps from forming.  Bring to a boil and cook until thickened, about 2-3 minutes.  Remove from heat and add cheeses, thyme and sea salt and pepper to taste.  Whisk until cheese has melted, then add the roasted veggies and pasta to the pot.  Mix well to coat pasta and veggies in the sauce and then spoon the mixture into 4 gratin dishes.  In a bowl, mix together panko, olive oil and walnuts, and toss well.  Top gratins with the breadcrumb mixture and place in the oven until they are bubbly, crispy on top and starting to brown, about 4-5 minutes.  Remove from the oven, let cool a few minutes, and enjoy!


Susi said...

Love this creation, and what a fantastic way to add additional flavor by roasting the vegetables! This is certainly comfort food at its best :o)

Kim - Liv Life said...

I love roasted veggies... funny as I never did when I was younger but now I can't get enough of them. Add in some "mac n cheese" and you have a hit! Nicely done...

Fun and Fearless in Beantown said...

I think gratins are a great way to use up some vegetables that are lying around! This looks great for my fall veggies!

coolblogger said...

Pretty creative dish. Looks yumm and tasty

Brittany @ Pretty Fit, Pretty Healthy, Pretty Happy said...

Oh my stars... I can't wait to make this! Consider this recipe saved!

GreenGirl said...

I love roasted vegetable dishes and your dish looks so delicious, can't wait to try it

mangocheeks said...

This is one delicious and comforting Autumnal dish. I wish I had a bowl right now to warm me up.

Spicie Foodie said...

Your recipe is just wonderful! Reading your post is making my mouth water and I ate diner already.

Kimmy Bingham said...

So bookmarking this. I expect to have a lot of these veggies in my winter share in the next few weeks, this is perfect!

Karen said...

This looks fantastic! Gratins are always so good, and I like the mix you used here.
I'm always on the look-out for vegetarian ideas to serve my mom...thanks for sharing.