Prepared Food Focus: Cricket Fettuccine with Autumn Vegetable Chile and Avocado Salsa Verde

Prepared Food Focus: Cricket Fettuccine with Autumn Vegetable Chile and Avocado Salsa Verde

Trendy cricket pasta adds some eye-popping interest to your prepared foods case.

The vibrant autumn chili ladled on the fettucine has a nice bite and by topping it all with fresh cilantro, grated Cotija cheese, crunchy pumpkin seeds, and Avocado-Salsa Verde, you can take this Mexican-inspired dish to the next level.  

Yield: 6-8 serving      
Prep time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Shelf Life: each component will last at least 2-3 days in a refrigerator or longer.

Cricket Fettuccine Ingredients

(You can either buy cricket pasta already made or make your own as shown here.)
1-pound bag cricket flour mixture
¼ teaspoon salt
4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature, beaten

Chili Ingredients

3 tablespoons canola or other vegetable oil
1½ cups sliced yellow onions
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican
½ teaspoon Ancho Chile powder
½ teaspoon+ minced Serrano Chile
2 cups vegetable stock
4 cups fresh pumpkin or butternut squash cut in 1-inch cubes
3 cups seeded and diced red and yellow bell peppers
1 cup fresh or canned corn kernels
1 (14-ounce) can hominy, rinsed and drained
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ cup Cotija cheese, for garnish
¾ cup salted roasted pumpkin seeds, for garnish
1 firm, ripe Hass avocado, diced, for garnish
⅓ cup coarsely chopped cilantro leaves, for garnish

Avocado-Salsa Verde Ingredients

½ pound tomatillos, husked, rinsed, and cored
1 cup scallions, including light green parts, coarsely chopped, plus sliced scallions
½ avocado, coarsely chopped
¼ cup chopped cilantro with coarse stems removed
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice  

Preparation

  1. For the pasta: In a food processor, pulse the flour and salt to combine. Through the feed tube, pour the eggs and process just until the dough comes together in a ball, 30-60 seconds. If too dry, add cold water by the teaspoon and process. Continue until the dough comes together. If too moist, add a little flour. Remove the dough and knead for 15-30 seconds until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rest on the counter for at least a ½ hour. Using a pasta maker, follow the instructions for rolling the dough through ever narrower settings; then cut the pasta into fettuccine. Sprinkle a little cornmeal on a jellyroll pan and toss with the pasta.   
  2. For the chili: In a large, heavy pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Stir in the onions and sauté until wilted, 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic, chili powder, cumin, oregano, Ancho Chile powder, and chopped Serrano Chile, and blend. Stir in the stock. Add the pumpkin, bell peppers, corn, and hominy; stir to blend well. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the vegetables are tender, 25-30 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  3. Meanwhile, make the Salsa Verde: Using an electric blender, combine the tomatillos, scallions, avocado, jalapeño, and cilantro; purée until almost smooth. Add the lime juice and 1/2 teaspoon salt and blend briefly. Scrape into a bowl and chill. 
  4. Cook the pasta. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain well and toss with a little oil.  
  5. To serve: Ladle pasta into bowls and spoon on the chili mixture. Add a generous spoonful of Salsa Verde in the center and garnish with Cotija cheese, pumpkin seeds, scallions, and cilantro.