Thanksgiving week is upon us, oh my! We aren't traveling this year; instead we'll be eating at the house of our friends M. and F., a mere 10 minutes' walk away. I've been asked to bring a pasta-based vegetarian main dish, as well as pumpkin pie. (The pumpkin pie is going to be wonderfully homespun -- there were plenty of proper pie pumpkins at the market, and so I spent a little time yesterday making pumpkin puree from scratch, a nice opportunity to press my food mill into service.)
I might make a side dish of some sort while I'm at it, if the hosts approve. For whatever reason, I find the idea of pasta at Thanksgiving a little dissonant, but after a lot of thought, I've come up with a baked pasta variation that pleases me for the purpose. The fact that it is called upon to present itself as an entrée, rather than just another meatless dish added a little extra challenge, I thought, as well as the fact that we're trying to avoid too much overlap in flavors from dish to dish.
I'll tell you the whole story of the pasta when it's all made and I have pictures to go with the recipe -- for now I'll just say that it involves both caramelized onions and pistachios. Today's recipe is for one of the meals I made to carry us through to Thursday. I think that cooking for this week is a little bit extra fraught: I don't want to make anything that will wind up being redundant, or near-redundant, with the Big Meal, and yet here we are buying the very sorts of vegetables that lend themselves to that exact kind of treatment.
One answer is to go for a cultural contrast; we'll be having something East Asian tonight, and at least one Indian dinner before the week is out. But there are a few odds and ends of our shopping that didn't inspire me in either of those directions, and this recipe is for them. The cultural provenance of this dish is a little bit this, a little bit that, but mostly, I think, Berkeley Hippie. It's also not particularly schmancy, what with the canned black beans and chili powder. It's still good, though! And leftovers, cooked down a bit further, make an excellent filling for (hippie) burritos or empanadas.