Shhhh, don’t tell anyone! I get really lazy about preparing Shabbos meals on hot summer days when we have no guests, in part because my husband always votes for salads, in all shapes or form, and very little else. So imagine my excitement when I received Aileen Magnotto’s box containing samples of her new line of whole-grain pasta, Magnoodles, just as I set out to do some Shabbos shopping. I decided right then and there that a pasta dish using one of the three samples I received would be the center of my meal.
I first heard about Aileen’s line, and the serendipitous brand name of her pasta, on Liz Reuven’s blog, Kosher Like Me. Since I have used whole grains for both cooking and baking practically all my life, and I and my students and readers enjoy them immensely, at first I took exception with the mere suggestion that some people might ask “What? Whole grain pasta that doesn’t taste like cardboard?” Growing up in Morocco, a whole foods lifer, I was programmed to think it was indeed white bread and white pasta that tasted like cardboard, and that we can only move up from there.
Looking at Magnoodles’ ingredients more closely, and guessing (correctly, as it turned out) we were in for a treat, I decided to go all out, and defrosted a fabulous slab of mush steak (also called oyster steak; never mind either improbable name: It’s my favorite steak, ideally lean and tender) for our entre nous dinner.
What makes Magnoodles so delicious is their short and dazzling ingredient list, nutrition-packed thanks to the selection of the best grains: Whole grain wheat, kamut and spelt, making them high in fiber and protein, rich in vitamin A, B and C. Dear Vegan friends take note: They are all egg-free. Their brilliant rainbow colors, due to the inclusion of pure powdered spinach, carrot, tomato and beet, makes them not only fun and children-friendly but also a nutritional powerhouse. You will eat your veggies, I guarantee it!
The pasta was a real pleasure to boil, and held its shape beautifully; an 8-ounce box yielded 4 ample servings. As always when making pasta, I set aside half a cup of the cooking liquid. My recipe was not even a recipe to speak of. I spotted 2 large very ripe tomatoes in my refrigerator, and diced and sauteed them in olive oil with a chopped onion, 2 cloves, diced red pepper, diced portobello stems (more about the caps in a minute), a good pinch of red pepper flakes, a little handful of capers, some freshly ground pepper, and tossed the pasta with this mixture and the reserved cooking liquid. Need I say it was a great hit?
I sauteed the mush steak in a little olive oil, 3 minutes on each side (with absolutely no seasonings: it’s that good!), and sauteed my two portobello caps in the same skillet, 1 minute on each side. They absorbed the good steak cooking juices, so it’s no wonder they were delicious. Before I sliced them, I sprinkled them with some lava black salt I had just received as a present. As a grand finale, I served my sea salt caramel truffles, of which I always keep a stash in my fridge. Our feast was complete!