A friend brought over a wonderful beef bourguignon for dinner the other evening and I am still savoring the leftovers, therefore tonight’s post consists of two great side dishes to accompany a hearty beef stew.
I don’t know whether rutabaga is used in Italy, but it lends itself to some very Italian flavors–namely, pecorino, black pepper and olive oil.
I’ve tried various different combinations with rutabaga . . . cream and butter (very nice, but not tonight); I’ve tried cooking the rutabaga cubes in milk, then pureeing (they have to cook for too long to soften, so the milk scorches). I’ve tried boiling the cubes in chicken broth and pureeing without adding any fat (not bad but not rich enough for me). I’ve tried using butter and parmiggiano (too delicate for the assertive rutabaga flavor).
Pecorino and olive oil are the perfect strong counterpoints to the earthy sweetness of rutabaga. Simply peel, cube and boil the rutabaga, then puree in a food processor. It purees beautifully in the processor, (unlike potatoes, which must not be run through the food-processor, lest they turn to glue). Drizzle in oil and cheese, then grind the black pepper over the dish once it’s on the plate.
This dish is the perfect winter accompaniment to a variety of main courses–most meats; game, stews, poultry. It can go most places that mashed potatoes go, but with a more earthy flavor and a more interesting bite.
It’s a great dish to make for guests because the puree can be made ahead, then sit in a saucepan with some of the rutabaga cooking liquid around it to use for re-heating.
Tonight I’m topping it with some crispy shallots for added sweetness. With a salad and cheese, this could be a meal.
Rutabaga with Pecorino and Black Pepper
serves 4 as a side dish
1 medium rutabaga (about 5″ in diameter)
2 tbls extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbl agave nectar or honey
1/4 c grated pecorino romano
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
salt to taste
2 shallots, sliced
oil for frying
Peel the rutabaga and cut into 1″ cubes. Place in well-salted cold water and bring to boil. Cover and simmer for about 45 minutes. Strain and place cubes in food processor, reserving some of the cooking liquid for reheating. Pulse in the processor while adding oil, agave and cheese. Taste and adjust salt.
In a separate skillet, fry the shallots until crispy and add salt. Top the rutabaga with shallots and black pepper.