This recipe is inspired by a autumn salad recipe in the guardian.However with the temperature plummeting to near zero in midst of April and a lovely Queen squash from Peru sitting firmly in the fridge I thought I would try this out as weeknight pasta dinner in Spring.
I cut half of a small pumpkin and a sweet pointed red pepper into 2-3cm wedges and laid it on a glass tray. I then seasoned the vegetables with a generous amount of olive oil, not so generous amount of sea salt, a pinch of cayenne pepper, and a tbsp each of fennel and cumin.We love roasted garlic and hence added 4 chunky cloves of garlic, skin on, into the mix. I will later peel the garlic before serving. Cooking it skin on makes the garlic soft and sweet without charring it. I used my hand to give all the vegetables a good rub with the oil and the seasoning.
While I got my vegetables ready for the oven I preheated the oven to 180 degrees. Once the oven reached the temperature I roasted the vegetables for about 40 mins. A longer roast at a lower temperature makes the vegetables sweeter and also helps in retaining the shape.
While the vegetables were roasting it was time to get the other parts of the dish ready. I had a secret ingredient – the British grown (rare commodity alert) red fox carlin peas which I had recently bought from an online shop. Yes I confess that I am mad – I buy beans online. I had soaked 1/2 a cup of these beans precooked them at the beginning of the week though not quite sure what I would do with them. Now I knew – I would use them instead of tinned chickpeas for this recipe. Yes it was all getting very exciting.
I made a dressing with 1 tbsp tahini, the juice of half a lemon, some sea salt and a spoon of olive oil. I also cooked about 120 gms of penne pasta.
And then it was time to bring it all together – vegetables (sans garlic skin) , pasta with some of the starchy water, dressing, the red foxes beans and loads of pepper. I kept the mixture on the hob for about 2 minutes to allow the starchy water to steam and bring the flavors together. Just enough time to get the plates and cutlery ready.
The red fox bean has a very distinct taste and is very different from chickpeas but nearer to bengal gram. I liked it and will use it again. As for the sauce I will probably use some yoghurt with 2 tbsp of tahini to make it a bit more moist. However all in all a very satisfying end to the day.