Inspiration comes when you least expect it. I normally never buy prepared meals from the grocery, but I bought two Spanish tapas dishes from Waitrose last week because they were on sale and they came in a cute terracotta pot.
White beans and manchego cheese for me, and chorizo meatballs for my husband. Popped them in the oven and 20 minutes later we had two delicious tapas pots. I *love* tapas.
I especially love spicy cheese and beans.
Tomorrow’s my last day before vacation so I wanted to use up anything that will go bad within two weeks.
Findings in the fridge included:
– leftover whole wheat fusilli pasta
– half a pot of ricotta cheese
– leftover kidney beans
– smoked applewood cheese
– two little terracotta pots screaming to be used immediately
I’m always hesitant about pasta bakes because they’re often so heavy and unhealthy, so I decided to try to make a pasta bake that was more broccoli and bean than pasta and cheese but that still packed a big flavor.
If you haven’t tried smoked applewood cheese – give it a shot. It’s one of my favorites. I added a few smallish chunks to the dish in hopes that it would melt over the broccoli and pasta and create an illusion of a cheesier dish.
I also got some new tea towels I wanted to experiment with so I kinda needed to cook something cool 🙂
I pre-heated the oven and cooked the broccoli until just done. While the broccoli was cooking I combined the ricotta, kidney beans, sea salt and applewood chunks. Key ingredient: smoked paprika. I added only a little because a little goes a long way. I wanted to give the smoky flavor of the cheese an extra little kick, and I think the smoked paprika worked perfectly in this instance.
Plus, paprika always gives a dish gorgeous specks of color!
Smoked broccoli bakes, pre-oven:
… and the finished product.
Mix it up while the cheese is still melty and there’s just enough cheese for each bite.
If you noticed the tea towels look different in different pics, I had a tough time with this English sun. When I started it was very bright and sunny, then it went cloudy, then it went storm cloudy. In the space of about 15 minutes.
I promise to refine this dish and post an actual recipe because this is one of my favorite things I’ve created for a long time and I’m sure you’ll love it too!