welcome to roasted romanesco and melty pasta cheese season!
From time to time, you have to give into your cravings for ooey, gooey, melty, cheesy pasta! Specifically, that is when the weather turns cold and it is dark at 4:30. Of course, roasted vegetables are equally important in my kitchen, so I decided to mix up the two for all of the cold snowy evenings that are coming up on the calendar. I like to try all different locally grown vegetables whenever I am at our farmers market. The minute that I spied the gorgeous romanesco, I immediately started making plans for roasted romanesco cheesy pasta!
what the heck is romanesco you ask?
Romanesco has been grown in Italy since the 16th century! It is a brocco flower, and is similar to broccoli and cauliflower, but is not a hybrid of the two cruciferous vegetables. I love it for its unusual, gorgeous, chartreuse green, and lumpy pointed stalks. In my imagination, it looks like it is from a 1950’s alien movie. Not that I have seen very many of those. The romanesco arrived at farmers market along with our cool and frosty weather. It was an easy decision to add it to our warm and cozy pasta.
what is your favorite melting cheese for pasta?
I like to mix all different cheese combinations together whenever we make cheesy pasta at our house. It is important to realize that there are many delectable melting cheese possibilities out there to choose from. I chose gruyere and butterkase for this recipe. The gruyere brings out a nutty mild flavor, and the butterkase brings…. well you know, a buttery flavor. The first thing to remember about most recipes that come out of my kitchen, is that I like to layer the flavors. For example, roasting the romanesco before it is added to the pasta. Roasting transforms the delicately flavored vegetable into a crunchy caramelized perfection. It is very difficult not to gobble all of the roasted pieces off of your sheet pan! For that reason I usually make extra for snacking along the way
oh! the pasta possibilities !
The next step is to choose what kind of pasta to use. I like to use a pasta that can hold a little extra cheesy sauce in every bite. Miniature shells are a good choice because they are so cute, and they are a different scale than the romanesco. The pasta shells are cooked in milk to almost al dente. In the meantime savory cheesy magic is about to happen in your kitchen! Mix all of the dairy products you have ever heard of together with the grated cheese and fresh herbs. When everything is as smooth as velvet, stir in the pasta sheels and roasted romanesco. Fair warning, at this point most of your family will be showing up with tasting spoons! All that is left is to scoop some in a bowl and turn on Netflix.Print
roasted romanesco cheesy pasta
Roasty toasty romanesco mixed with creamy dreamy cheesy pasta…. comfort food with a veggie spin!
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 35 minutes
- Total Time: 45-50 minutes
- Yield: 6 servings 1x
- Category: main dish
- Method: cook top /oven
1 head of romanesco, roasted
olive oil, salt and pepper for roasting romanesco
7 oz. package of miniature pasta shells
1 1/2 cups of milk (used to cook pasta) – more if needed
1/4 cup butter
6 oz. gruyere cheese grated
6 oz. butterkase cheese grated
1/2 lemon zest
1–2 TB fresh lemon juice
1 sprig of fresh rosemary chopped
9 sprigs of fresh thyme stripped
6 fresh sage leaves chopped
1 cup prosecco
1 TB horseradish
1 TB mustard
1/2 cup whipping cream
salt and white pepper to taste
Roast the romanesco:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Wash and break/cut romanesco into small “branches”
Place in a bowl and drizzle with olive oil
Carefully mix with your hands to cover romanesco pieces with olive oil
Lay pieces on a sheet pan being carefully to leave space between the romanesco pieces
Sprinkle with salt and white pepper
Roast for 20 minutes, or until golden brown – after the first 10 minutes of roasting turn romanesco on the other side for even roasting
Remove from oven and set aside
Lower oven temperature to 350 degrees
Warm the milk to medium – high heat and add pasta shells
Cook according to package directions until not quite al dente
While pasta is cooking start the cheesy sauce:
In a large skillet melt the butter on medium low heat
Add the grated cheeses and stir/whisk until smooth
Add remaining sauce ingredients and warm through
Pour pasta and roasted romanesco in pan and combine
Sprinkle salt and white pepper to taste
Transfer to oven safe gratin pan and cook for 15 minutes or until cheese starts bubbling
Remove from oven
Keywords: romanesco, pasta, cheese