A rich classic french treat for $4.79 for 2 people. Makes a great romantic dinner. Oh, and did I mention, vegetarians can it too!
If you’ve been reading my blog (and if you haven’t been, please check out my other posts. They’re pretty good. I promise) then you may have come to one realization: I like meat. I’m sorry, but it’s delicious. I do draw a small line in the sand at tortured baby cow. Which is why you will never see a veal recipe on this blog (although, another equally valid reason is that I don’t think veal could ever be affordable enough for this blog.) I know, I know. There are other bad practices out there other than what’s done to veal; some farms treat other livestock deplorably as well. (Although I have met a few farmers and ranchers, both in California and in Australia, none of who partook in any of those methods and they did just fine.)
My point is I respect my vegetarian cousins. They’ve taken a stand for what they believe, and while I may not be strong enough to follow suit, I can at least provide the occasional vegetarian five dollar feast recipe from time to time. So, vegeterians, this one is for you. (Now if you’re vegan…well, sorry. Can’t help you this time.)
Vegetarian cooking doesn’t always have to be about tofu and meat substitutes (though, protein can be hard to come by for vegetarian otherwise.) The fact of the matter is that we all eat vegetarian regularly without even thinking about it. Many of our pasta dishes, soups, and some sandwiches are vegetarian. There is no meat in mac and cheese or grilled cheese, two of the latest culinary trends in America today. (See such events as the Grilled Cheese Invitational)
One of my favorite sauces for mushroom or certain cheese filled pasta (I would not use meat filled pasta or butternut squash or pumpkin ravioli with this sauce; the squash is just too sweet to serve with the already semi-sweet sauce) is a brown butter sauce. It is just a few ingredients and only takes a few minutes, although I won’t go so far as to call it easy. Making a great tasting brown butter sauce is a bit tricky. It takes just a second or two for the butter to go from bland melted butter to delicious nutty brown sauce to burnt and disgusting sauce. I don’t mean to intimidate you from making this, I just want to urge you to pay close attention to your butter while it melts. This sauce only takes a few minutes, but you cannot walk away from it during that time. Once you perfect it you can treat your friends and family to a very refined traditional French style dish.
I found Safeway brand Brie and Roasted Garlic Borsetti (a filled pasta that looks like little bags) on sale for $2.99. I grabbed some sage and butter for the sauce (yes, that is all you need) and rounded out the feast with cheap cauliflower and a bottle of Chardonnay. I roasted the cauliflower in the oven rather than steam it to bring out it’s natural sweetness to pair with the butter sauce.
Sage Brown Butter Sauce
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
1 small bunch of sage
1 package of your favorite filled pasta
- Cook your filled pasta according to the directions on the package. (In case your package has no instructions, boil water, add filled pasta, and cook until they rise to the top of the water and are nice and tender)
- Coarsely chop the sage. (You want large chunks or even smaller whole leaves as the sage will crisp up nicely for a great texture.)
- In a sauce pan or deep pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Swirl the butter in the pan constantly. After the butter has just melted add the sage. Continue to a swirl the butter.
- Now here is the trick: keep your nose open. The milk solids in the butter will begin to brown after a minute or two and release a nutty aroma. Once you start to smell this and the butter is a light golden brown, remove the butter and pour it over the cooked pasta
1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
4 cloves of garlic, chopped coarsely
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup parmesan cheese
salt to taste
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
- Toss the cauliflower, garlic, olive oil, cayenne pepper and salt together in a baking dish.
- Bake for 25 minutes, tossing halfway through. Top with parmesan cheese and continue roast for 5 more minutes.