Roasted veg with pesto and fried bread

Roasted veg & pesto

I was so pleased with this meal! It seemed so summery. It felt as if all the vegetables were getting along, like a good family should. The cauliflower and potatoes were roasted, because that suited them best. The zucchini was sautéed till it was lightly browned, and then it played nicely with some fresh spinach and a tidbit of canned tomatoes. The mozzarella and pesto were wonderfully yielding to the warmth of the cooked vegetables. And the cubes of bread, lightly fried in olive oil, added just enough crunch to turn the whole thing into a party.

Something about the combination of bread, potatoes and vegetables evokes a peasant-ish meal. But a meal idealized peasants might have. I see peasants in the French or Italian countryside, and it’s constantly sunset or sunrise. They’ve got the wholesome goodness. I see a beautiful, spoiled American woman from LA, or NYC. She’s lost her way, she has no sense of purpose. All it takes is one bite of roasted vegetables with pesto and fried bread to make her realize how shallow her life is. She falls in love with a mysterious, swarthy fellow, who is secretly a count and a millionaire. You’ll laugh! You’ll cry!! You’ll buy the book and all the merchandise to go with it!

I don’t have time to pick a more appropriate song, so here’s a beauty…Fred Williams and the Jewels band with Tell Her.

olive oil a-plenty
4 medium sized potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
1/2 a medium sized cauliflower, florets only, cut into small chunks
1 zucchini, cut lengthwise in half, and then into 1/8th inch pieces
1/2 cup fire roasted diced tomatoes, or one fresh tomato – diced
2 cups fresh spinach, cleaned, stemmed and roughly chopped

3 thick slices bread, cut into one inch cubes

1 cup mozzarella, cut into tiny cubes

1/2 cup chard, raisin and pecan pesto (or any kind of pesto you like!!)

salt and plenty of freshly-ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 425 and get out two baking trays. Put the potatoes on one and the cauliflower on the other. Add a few tablespoonfuls of olive oil to each, and toss till everything’s well coated. Cook till the veg is brown and crispy. Maybe 15-20 minutes for the cauliflower, and another 10 minutes for the potatoes. Use a sharp spatula to scrape the veg from the tray after about 5 minutes, and continue to mix it up over the course of the cooking time.

Meanwhile…warm a couple of tablespoonfuls of olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the bread, and cook, stirring to ensure every side is evenly coated, until it starts to brown. Ten minutes, maybe. Transfer to a small baking sheet and leave in the toaster oven to crisp further, or just set aside.

Using the same saucepan, cleaned out, warm another tablespoon of olive oil. Add the zucchini, and fry on medium heat for about 10 minutes, till it starts to brown outside and turn translucent. Put it in a large shallow bowl. Put the tomatoes into the hot pan, add about 1/3 cup water or broth, and add the spinach. Cook till it’s wilted but bright and set aside.

Add the cauliflower to the zucchini in the bowl. Stir in the pesto and mozzarella. Add the tomatoes and spinach, and stir that in as well. Put a few handfuls of toasted bread and roasted potatoes on top, and serve!!

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