Walking the Talk #9: Smokey Putanesca with roasted beetroot chips

Walking the talk 9

My wife and I are becoming proper home cook masterchef’s but we’re never entering any cooking competitions, I’ll put money on that. We cook for the love of cooking.

This weekend was let-Adam-loose-in-the-kitchen weekend again. I did another version of my smokey arabiata pasta but this time we added some sides. Annie made a roasted cauliflower with harissa, hummus with anchovies, capers and charred red onion petals, and I added a little roasted and pickled beetroot. It was a stirling effort in the kitchen and was a “wow” a bite on the plate. I’m sure the Masterchef judges would have told us it was three separate dishes on a plate, but we loved it while watching MasterChef Australia

For the smokey Putanesca, I smoked some Rosa tomatoes in braai (barbecue for those not from South Africa) after getting coals to glow and throwing on some wood chips. The recipe said to leave the tomatoes over the smoke for 10 minutes, but I doubled that this time. It gave them a really deep smokiness. Then I roasted the tomato wedges in the oven for about 25 minutes until they showed some colour. I blitzed the smoked tomatoes into a paste, and then added them to some caramelized chopped onions and garlic. Then I added some pitted and halved Kalamata olives, some anchovies and some capers, plus half a chopped up red chilli. I reduced that for about 20 mins, then poured over penne and topped with toasted pine nuts and shaved Parmesan.

Wow – it was probably the best meal my wife and I have cooked together.

Then tonight I experimented with beetroot as many ways as I could imagine, to make up for some kitchen fails yesterday when I burned most of my roasted beetroot bar one or two pieces. Tonight I made roasted beetroot, beetroot chips, charred beetroot stems, and pickled raw beetroot. The roasted beetroot went with supper and was a sweet element on the plate. The crisps were amazing snacks. I’ll let you know how the pickle goes – it needs to soak for a day at least.

To wind down, I cracked open a bottle of the award winning Tokara Wine Estate, Stellenbosch Reserve Collection Cab Sav 2019 and whipped up a cheese platter with a handful of my beetroot crisps.

Bloody marvelous!

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