It's been said, "What grows together, goes together." While I subscribe to that in theory, in reality, I'm more apt to follow the lesser known but maybe more universal adage, "If it tastes good in my mouth, I'm gonna put it in my mouth."
This Angel Hair dish is the perfect example of that. I mean, who does it think it is, globetrotting like this: starting in Italy, gallavanting through the Mediterraean, taking a detour through Latin America, and ending up on my plate in Chicago, Illinois?
If I were to really name this dish, I'd call it:
ANGEL HAIR WITH RAS EL HANOUT-ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH AND CARAMELIZED ONIONS & RED CABBAGE (You see why I didn't attempt to put it all in the title.)
1 serving dry angel hair pasta, protein-enriched (like Barilla Plus)
1/3 head of a small red cabbage, thinly sliced
1/3 of a small butternut squash, peeled and cut into small chunks
1/2 white onion, thinly sliced
fresh thyme leaves
fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
1/2 T. ras el hanout (more on this later)
2-3 T. olive oil
salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 425. In a baking dish, toss the butternut squash with about 1 T. olive oil, salt, and the ras el hanout. Bake for about 25-30 minutes, until fork-tender.
In a nonstick skillet, heat the rest of the olive oil. Cook the cabbage and onions over medium heat, seasoned with salt and pepper (don't be a wimp about this), for about 20 minutes, until caramelized and tender. Add the thyme and cilantro about 5 minutes before removing from heat.
Boil the angel hair until al dente. Drain. Return to pot off the heat. Toss in the butternut squash and all olive oil left in the baking dish and the onions/cabbage with all their oil as well (the olive oil serves as the "sauce" for the dish). Serve hot. Enjoy!
Wow! Only 7 ingredients, and this was such a flavorful dish. The ras el hanout, which is a classic Mediterranean spice blend which means "best of the house," had a little sweetness which really complemented the flavor of the squash and caramelized veggies. I was most nervous about the thyme-cilantro combo clashing, but I thought they both added their own little spark of bright freshness to the dish - they may not grow together, but they seemed to work.
I think the keys to making this taste great were seasoning appropriately and really embracing the (heart healthy) extra virgin olive oil. This is one of my favorite things I've made recently, and it's also one of the healthiest - no meat, no dairy, just amazing flavors from all over the world.
If I were to add an element or two, I think I'd add an element of crunch - maybe toasted pine nuts, almonds, or walnuts; and I also think this would be divine with goat cheese (but what wouldn't?).
And to top it all off, let's check out the PARTY OF ONE PRICE INDEX:
CABBAGE: 44 cents
ONION: 50 cents
BUTTERNUT SQUASH: 36 cents
RAS EL HANOUT: 50 cents
Everything else is a pantry staple, which makes our GRAND TOTAL:
$1.80 ! ! !
Under two bucks for a delicious meal of global proportions. Once again, economical success!
Thanks for reading. More soon...