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Passionfruit and Alfredo

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You guys!

Check this out:

Impressive, isn’t it? No? How about what it looked like a couple of weeks ago?

What is that, you ask? Well, I kind of give it away in the post title: yes, this is a passionfruit.

If you’ve been reading THIH for a long time, say 2.5 years, you may recall a post I wrote way back in April 2010 about our visit to a tropical greenhouse in northern Connecticut. While there, we picked up far more tropical plants than anyone living in snowy Connecticut should have.

We’ve since lugged these plants, which include passionfruit, Buddha’s hand, curry, Meyer lemon, kaffir lime, and bay leaf, though two separate moves (the goji berry vine, sadly, was banished from our home after it grew too unwieldy for comfort).

What can I say? Peter loves his plants.

I’m looking forward to a fresh, deliciously tart passionfruit before too long. Goodness knows I’ve spent plenty of time waxing poetic about this fruit.

As for some of the other plants, check it:

From left: curry, Buddha’s hand, Meyer lemon

Look how large this fig tree is! When we got it, it had like 2.5 leaves. This year, it’s given us a bumper crop of of the sweetest, most delicious figs I’ve ever eaten.

Now that I’ve gotten sidetracked … what was the point of this post? … Oh, right! I promised you my pasta Alfredo recipe with a super sekrit ingredient, as pictured here:

The trick is to replicate the creaminess of Alfredo without copious of amounts of cream and butter. Take it away, recipe plug-in!

“Give Me More” Creamy Pasta Alfredo with Sauteed Summer Squash

  Prep Time: 10 minutes

  Cook Time: 20 minutes

  Keywords: stir-fry steam entree vegetarian sugar-free nut-free pasta

Ingredients (4 servings)

  • 1 head cauliflower, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons olive or canola oil
  • 3 summer squash, thinly sliced
  • 1.5 tablespoons butter
  • 1.5 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 4 oz pasta (short is best)
  • salt
  • pepper

Instructions

Steam cauliflower using your favorite method (I put the cauliflower in a metal colander and suspended it over a pot of boiling water for 20 minutes).

While cauliflower steams, heat a saute pan over medium heat. Drizzle oil in pan. Add garlic and onion. Saute for 1 minute. Add sliced summer squash and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until squash is soft.

In a saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat. Add flour and stir constantly with a wire whisk until the paste turns light brown. Add milk and stir constantly until thickened (about 5 minutes). Add grated Parmesan cheese and stir.

Cook pasta according to package directions.

Place sauce and steamed cauliflower in blender. Blend until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. Toss pasta with the sauce. Toss sauce with pasta and serve immediately with summer squash on the side.

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Q: Do you have a green thumb or a black thumb (like me)? What kind of plants do you have growing around?

8 Comments

  1. Hey Jess!

    The Alfredo sauce sounds incredibly yummy, I love smooth cauliflower-based sauces and soups, and I am not one to enjoy soup OR cauliflower in general!

    You little garden looks absolutely fantastic (well done Peter!) and… tropical? I’m not sure what qualifies as tropical, I guess that Buddha’s hand is as tropical and exotic as it gets, but figs are pretty mediterranean I’ve got to say. At my mum’s village in Corfu there are humongous, decades-old fig trees that bear fruit even without anyone tending to them. Late August and September is the best time to have them. The villagers in the past would make them into fig paste with anise, black pepper and wine and store them inside chestnut leaves. It made a mean ouzo mezze 😉

    As for my thumb, it’s resolutely and proudly black, though my boyfriend likes his little plant pots and they like him back. 🙂

    1. You’re right about the fig, Christa — I didn’t mention above that we didn’t get the fig from the tropical greenhouse. Peter actually mail-ordered it from somewhere 🙂 The fig paste you describe sounds soooo good. If we have enough, I may need to try it!

  2. Lovely plants! It’s so great to have a green thumb. I, alas, do not and have killed more than one plant in the not too distant past. One summer I did grow tomatoes but then I was too scared to actually eat them. It must be amazing to eat your own luxury figs 🙂

    1. We sure do — Peter’s already getting nervous because the temperatures have been dropping into the high 40s F. He’ll probably bring in the passionfruit tonight.

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