Thursday, February 23, 2017

Sheet Pan Dinners With A Twist

One of the latest trends in home cooking right now is sheet pan meals. These are an easy cook and mix of the main meal and sides. Now there's another layer added to this - pasta. It gives a new texture and taste to a popular dish.

Melissa Clark decided to tackle this and write about it in her A Good Appetite column in yesterday's New York Times Food section. Any sheet pan meal is an easy make.It's just spreading out your desired ingredients on a baking sheet that's usually reserved for cookies and square  pizzas. She makes a roasted broccoli pasta. This is unusual in the sense that the main ingredient isn't a meat such as chicken or pork but pasta. Ms. Clark uses chiocciole , a  macaroni shaped kind, however, home chefs can also use fusilli or ziti.Using pasta does require the extra step of boiling it, but then it's really no different than boiling the wide noodles for lasagna. Vegetables are a must for any sheet pan meal. Broccoli is used because it roasts well,,with the florets becoming crispy. That and the pasta, which will become crisp too will pair nicely with the addition of fresh ricotta.The cheese will burnish and caramelize.Ms. Clark also adds a good sprinkling of Parmesan spiked breadcrumbs and lemon zest for more zing.

Even novice home chefs can create this tasty dish, perfect for a weekday dinner or weekend lunch.It does start off with a very hot oven. Ms. Clark recommends a 425 degree Farenheit oven Use a rimmed baking sheet. The broccoli is tossed with olive oil along with red pepper flakes, a pinch of sea salt  and cumin for flavor( you can swap out the pepper if it proves to be too spicy). Roast until tender and brown between eighteen and twenty-five minutes. Toss halfway through to make sure that all the florets are evenly cooked. The sheet pan is removed from the oven and it's time to turn on the broiler. At this point, the pasta should be boiled and then drained.It's also at this time that the
 breadcrumbs have to be spiced. Ms. Clark uses panko bread crumbs but I don't see why regular or homemade ones can 't be used. Toss the breadcrumbs with the grated Parmesan,  lemon zest and salt and pepper. The pasta and broccoli are then tossed together on the pan then dollops of  the ricotta is added..It's then sprinkled with the breadcrumbs , along with getting a generous drizzle of olive oil. Broil for about two to three minutes or until browned and crisped. It's served with a squirt of lemon juice. Other veggies such as cauliflower and eggplant can be subbed in for the broccoli  while Camembert can be used for the ricotta.

A sheet pan meal is an easy meal. Add pasta to make it special and tastier. It's a nice spin on a new trend.

No comments: