HHow is your relationship with your blender? Is it in the cabinet hidden behind the waffle maker? If so, it might be time to remove it again and reconnect.
The appliance, which was the hot new gadget in home kitchens in the 1930s, is a reliable old standby that can be your effort-reducing partner when preparing soups, popovers, pastas, salad dressings as well as, of course, frozen cocktails and smoothies.
It can also be a godsend when looking for a shortcut to a weeknight dinner. That’s because blender sauces are so versatile and easy to make. Consider a marinara blender, hollandaise or how about this week’s recipe: Broccoli Rigatoni with Lemon Sauce.
In this recipe for Street vegetables with milk by Christopher Kimball, you boil broccoli and garlic until tender, about 5 minutes, before transferring them to a blender with about 350ml of blanch water and capers. The mixture is blended as you pour in oil to create a smooth, shiny green sauce.
Then you boil the pasta in the same water as that broccoli, drain it, toss it with the sauce, freshly grated Parmesan and lemon zest and juice. The recipe calls for toasted walnuts and fresh basil, but you can adjust that and serve it with leftover roast chicken or quick-poached shrimp and your favorite herbs, nuts or seeds.
But don’t make that sauce and then put that device back in that dark cabinet. If you still have it handy, pull out the manual or go to the blender manufacturer’s website to refresh your memory on all the other things it can do as a replacement for an immersion blender, a food processor, a grinder, a grater. and even a stand mixer.
For the past few weeks I’ve used mine to make whipped cream: put a cup of double cream in the pitcher and stir over low heat until thick and smooth, pulsing towards the end . I turned stale, well-toasted (and well-chilled) bread into breadcrumbs with some legumes. I’ve used it to grind nuts and seeds, but be careful and pulse towards the end, so you don’t end up with nut butter.
I’ve even used it when I needed to grate a large amount of hard cheese, like the cup of parmesan cheese – more for sprinkling at the table as I always want more cheese – for this recipe: grind in batches into the cutting into large 1 cm cubed pieces and hitting it with pulses until it has the right consistency.
This does not mean that the blender can replace the food processor or stand mixer in all cases. While ideal for most recipes that call for pureeing, you give up some control with a blender. For example, you will get a fluffier whipped cream and can achieve the soft or stiff peaks you want if you whip it using a mixer. If you’re making a sauce, dip, or salsa, a food processor, which has a shallower bowl, moves at a slower speed, and has interchangeable blades, can deliver more even pieces and give you control over consistency. .
That said: the blender is excellent at a glance and can probably do more than you imagine. Another reason I love using it as a time saver is because it’s so easy to clean. Fill the pitcher ¾ full with hot water, add a drop of dish soap and stir several times. Then rinse well and dry (some blender pitchers and lids are dishwasher safe, but check the manual to be sure).
As I recently used mine more, I felt like I reconnected with an old trusted friend. You know, the one you haven’t called in a while, but who’s always there for you.
Rigatoni with broccoli lemon sauce
Serves:4 to 6
Time: 30 minutes
To note: To toast walnuts, place in a dry skillet over medium heat and toast, stirring frequently, until browned in spots and fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer the nuts to a plate or bowl to cool.
Storage Notes: Refrigerate leftovers for up to 4 days.
1 tbsp fine salt, plus more to taste
450 g broccoli crowns, cut into 2.5 cm pieces
4 medium garlic cloves, peeled
1 tablespoon drained capers
60ml extra virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
450g rigatoni or ziti pasta
60 g finely grated parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest, plus 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Fresh basil leaves, to serve
Walnuts, toasted and chopped, for serving (see note)
In a large saucepan, bring 3¾ liters of water to a boil. Add 1 tablespoon salt, broccoli and garlic and cook until broccoli is tender, 4 to 6 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer broccoli and garlic to pitcher of blender; keep the water boiling. Transfer about 470 ml of water to the blender (reserve the rest), as well as the capers. Blend until smooth, then, with the machine running, pour in the oil.
Add pasta to remaining boiling water and cook according to package directions, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain, reserve the water and return the pasta to the pot. Add broccoli purée, Parmesan cheese and lemon zest and juice; toss to combine, adding reserved water as needed, so pasta is lightly sauced.
Taste and season with pepper and more salt to taste, if needed.
Transfer to a large bowl or plate or spoon into individual bowls and sprinkle with basil, walnuts and additional cheese, if desired, and serve.
Nutritional information per serving (160g), based on 6 | calories: 424; total fat: 14g; saturated fat: 3g; cholesterol: 8mg; sodium: 310mg; carbohydrates: 63g; dietary fiber: 6g; sugar: 3g; protein: 15g.
This analysis is an estimate based on the available ingredients and this preparation. It should not replace the advice of a dietitian or nutritionist.
© The Washington Post