My friend Becky uses a service called Blue Apron. Once a week they send a box of fresh ingredients accompanied by three detailed recipes. She loves it. She received the opportunity to give free meals to friends, so she gave me a free week to try. This is one of the Blue Apron recipes that I made. They always send you the exact amount of ingredients needed. I love the fact that there’s no waste. I also like that they send ingredients that I might not try on my own. A good example of that is the kohlrabi used in this recipe. Before trying this recipe, I don’t know that I would have ever bought a kohlrabi, but I will now when I make this recipe again.
Ok, so what is a kohlrabi, and what are spring onions? A kohlrabi is a vegetable that is shaped like a turnip but has a taste and consistency much like a cross between cabbage and broccoli stems. It’s actually a German word that means “cabbage turnip”. When you cook with it, you typically peel off the outer layer of skin using a vegetable peeler. On to spring onions – these look similar to scallions, with a long green top, but they have a little, round, white onion at the bottom. In the Northeast, they’re typically found at farmer’s markets during the months of May and June. They’re both great seasonal ingredients and were perfect in this casserole.
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Spring Root Vegetable Casserole
Recipe adapted slightly from Blue Apron
6 ounces English peas
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 spring onions
1 small bunch lemon thyme (~6 sprigs or to taste)
1 kohlrabi, medium diced
1 sweet potato, peeled and medium diced
5 ounces egg noodles
1 cup low-fat milk
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup Panko breadcrumbs
Preheat the oven to 450°F. Heat 2 medium pots of salted water to boiling on high. Shell the peas. Remove and discard the root of the spring onions. Thinly slice the spring onions, separating the green tops and white bottoms. Pick the thyme leaves off the stems; discard the stems and roughly chop the thyme.
Once the water is boiling, add the kohlrabi and sweet potato to the 1st pot of boiling water and cook 10 to 12 minutes, or until tender when pierced with a knife. Drain thoroughly and transfer to a bowl. Set aside.
While the vegetables cook, and once the 2nd pot of water is boiling, add the egg noodles and cook 5 to 6 minutes, or until tender. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water and drain thoroughly; set aside. Wipe out the pot.
While the vegetables continue to cook, in the same pot used to cook the noodles, make the béchamel sauce. Melt the butter on medium. Add the flour, garlic and white parts of the spring onion and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, 1 to 2 minutes, or until the flour is golden and the onion is slightly softened. Stir in the milk and half the Parmesan cheese; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, 8 to 10 minutes, or until smooth and thickened. Remove from heat.
To the béchamel sauce, add the shelled peas, cooked vegetables, cooked noodles, 3/4 cup of the reserved pasta cooking water and all but a pinch of both the lemon thyme and green parts of the spring onion (save the rest for garnish). Stir to combine. (If the mixture seems too thick, add up to an additional 1/4 cup of the reserved pasta water.)
Transfer the vegetable-pasta mixture to a medium baking dish. In a small bowl, combine the panko breadcrumbs and remaining Parmesan cheese and sprinkle evenly over the casserole. Bake 8 to 10 minutes, or until bubbly and browned. Remove from the oven and let stand for at least 5 minutes before serving. Prior to serving, garnish with the remaining lemon thyme and green parts of the spring onion.
Yield: 2 servings
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