Sunday, January 31, 2010

Cook this Soon!

I suggest you make this at some point in the near future. This no-kneed bread is simple, satisfying, and lasts for several days. The penne with roasted vegetables and italian sausage is easy to adapt to what you have in your fridge, and the leftovers are great! If you're not interested in the bread, just skip down to the pasta recipe!

First, you'll want to take care of the bread since it takes 12-18 hours to do its thing. This take forethought, but very little effort. This recipe is taken directly from Jim Lahey's My Bread: The Revolutionary no-work, no-knead method. You'll need:

3 Cups Bread Flour (or, if you're being precise, 400 grams)
1 1/4 tsps table salt (not kosher. 8 grams)
1/4 tsp instant or other active dry yeast (1 g)
1 1/3 C cool water (55-65 degrees F. 300 g)
wheat bran, cornmeal, or additional flour for dusting (I've only used flour as of yet)

Combine flour, salt, and yeast in a bowl. Add water and using your hand or a wooden spoon, combine until you have a wet and sticky dough. If you've made other breads this will seem extremely wet for a dough. If your dough doesn't seem really wet, add a bit of water (by the Tablespoon). Cover that business with some plastic wrap or a tea cloth, and let 'er be at room temp for 12-18 hours. I've been leaving mine for at least 18 hours because we leave our house at 68 degrees which is a bit cool. If yours is warmer you could do less, but basically you want it to double in size. If your house is cooler, you might think about letting it sit for 24 hours. Bottom line: give it time!

You'll know it is ready when it is doubled in size, bubbly on top, and has a slightly darkened color to the top. You're letting the bread ferment over this time, and it gives a really nice flavor. The ingredients are simple, but that bit of yeast and the time you give it really make a difference!

When your bread is ready at this point, dump it out on a floured surface. You'll notice the dough clinging to your bowl with long threads of dough-- this is the gluten at work! Pull it out of the bowl with a spoon, bowl scraper, or hands (I use hands and a spatula), and do NOT add more flour. It is wet and sticky and you want it this way! Pull the edges under to form a round ball of dough.

Place a cloth napkin or tea towel on the workspace and generously dust it with flour (I put a layer of plastic wrap down because the last time I made it, though I dusted it thoroughly, it developed into the cloth). Lay the dough down and fold the wrap and cloth loosely over the dough. Let rise another 1-2 hours or until about doubled.

About a half hour before the second rise is done, preheat your oven to 450-475 (based on how your oven runs. I do 450) and place your 4.5-5.5 qt. heavy pot inside the oven. When the second rise is ready and your oven is too, pull out the pot (careful, that baby is HOT!). Dust the dough with flour or bran or your choice, and carefully move the dough into the hot pot, seam side up. Pop that sucker, covered, into the oven for 30 minutes. After 30, uncover and let cook another 15-30 until it is a "chestnut" color. I've been cooking mine about 10-15 more to get a slightly lighter crust. Pull it out when done and move to a cooling wrack (don't let cool in the pot or it'll continue to cook-- trust me). Let it cool at least an hour-- you'll hear it crackling, and according to Lahey, this is an important part of the cooking and if you cut it while it is hot you're destroying the loaf! So resist!

You'll have a pretty good looking loaf and can slice it how you wish. I found slicing it like this (below) is best because you get just the right amount of crust to bread. Lahey slices his like a pie, which is tasty too.
So that is the bread, and here is the main dish:

Sausage and Roasted Vegetable Penne
Adapted from Melissa D'Abrabian's recipe of the same name

1 onion, cut into wedges
1 medium zucchini, sliced in 1/2 lengthwise
1 red bell pepper quartered, cheeks and core removed
1/2 pound button mushrooms (or portobellos, etc)
1 head of garlic, top sliced off
2 1/2 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 pint grape tomatoes, washed and dried
2 sweet or hot Italian sausages, casings removed and thinly sliced (if you don't eat sausage you could try turkey kielbasa, tofu, etc. Whatever you like!)
1/4-1/3 Cup white wine
1 or 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
12 ounces whole-grain penne, cooked. *Reserve 1/2 pasta water!
Freshly grated Parmesan

Heat your oven to 400 degrees.

Toss the vegetables together in a bowl (except the tomaties and garlic) with about a Tablespoon of olive oil and some salt and pepper. You want to leave them in larger pieces to roast and then after they're roasted, you'll chop 'em up! Spread the onions, zucchini, red pepper, and mushrooms on a baking sheet (you may want to spray with cooking spray). Place the garlic on the sheet, sliced side up. Roast in over for 25-30 minutes, then add the tomatoes on and roast another 20-30 minutes. Keep an eye out to make sure they don't get too crispy! Take those babies out, let them cool a few minutes, and chop them up. Pull out the cloves of garlic and chop them too, or just smash them. If they get brown, don't add that part (it may be bitter). The whole clove may seem like a lot, but roasting it sweetens and lightens the flavor and it don't be overwhelming.

In a large skillet over medium heat, add the sausage and saute until it is cooked through. Turn up the heat and deglaze your pan with the white wine. You can use a bit more or less than is called for. If you don't have white wine you could use chicken broth, but just keep in mind that you'll definitely lose some of the fantastic flavor that wine brings. Add 1-2 Tbsp. of tomato paste (I like the super concentrated Amore brand-- it keeps for quite a while in the fridge and comes in a hand tube) and stir in. (Note: If you've used sweet sausages or something other than hot sausages, you might want to add about a half tsp. or red chili flakes in-- it'll give it a nice subtle kick.)

Chop up the vegetables and add them to the pan. Let that all simmer together a bit and add some of the pasta water to loosen things up if you need to. Toss in some salt and pepper, and then add in your cooked pasta. If you are making this for two people (like I always am!) you can half the amount of pasta, but you may want to just make the sauce as is-- leftovers are delicious!

Now, serve and enjoy! Top with some salty parmesan cheese, and have at it! A slice of the no-kneed bread goes really well with it.

ENJOY! Let me know if you make it, how it turns out, and what you do to it to make it your own!


Jan said...

Yum Yum Again!!! (my special word verification was efood---funny, huh)

melissa oholendt said...

That bread looks incredible. Forget the Masters - I think you need to go be Michelin trained ASAP. (I kid of course, but seriously...)