When I was writing the recent post about dishes we have on a regular basis, I noticed that there were a few dishes that I make several times per year, but are not featured on the blog yet. As there are almost 1,300 recipes on this blog that I have published over the last 10 years, it gets hard to keep track of what is and what is not on the blog. One of the ‘missing’ dishes was penne with celeriac (also known as celery root). Oven roasting really brings out the flavor of the celeriac, and it is vegetable that keeps well and is easily available in winter from local sources rather than flown in or grown in a greenhouse. You could add some roughly chopped toasted walnuts for more texture and flavor — they can be roasted along with the celeriac and will take 6 minutes or so.
200 grams (7 oz) penne pasta
400 grams (14 oz) peeled celeriac, in large julienne about the same size as the penne
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp minced fresh flat leaf parsley
salt and freshly ground black pepper
30 grams (1 oz) freshly grated parmigiano reggiano + a bit more for garnish
20 grams (2 Tbsp) walnuts, roughly chopped (optional)
Preheat the oven to 225C/440F. Peel the celeriac and cut into large julienne that is roughly the same size as the penne. Place the celeriac in an oven dish and toss with 2 tablespoons of olive oil until it is completely coated with a thin layer of oil.
Roast the celeriac in the oven at 225C/440F (not fan forced) for 20 minutes, then turn the celeriac and return to the oven for another 20 minutes. So the total cooking time is 40 minutes.
After turning the celeriac, bring a pot of water to a boil. When the water boils, add salt and the penne. Set the time for al dente as indicated on the package. Scoop out about 60 ml (1/4 cup) of the pasta cooking water towards the end of the cooking.
Toast the walnuts, if using, along with the celeriac for about 6 minutes or until crunchy and fragrant (but not burnt).
After 40 minutes, the celeriac should be soft with a still a bit of bite to it, and nicely browned. Take the celeriac out of the oven and season it with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Drain the pasta and add it to the celeriac, together with 30 grams of freshly grated parmigiano and most of the minced parsley. Add a few tablespoons of the reserved cooking water as well.
Toss the pasta and celeriac to mix. The cooking water, cheese, and olive oil will form a nice sauce. Add more of the reserved pasta cooking water if it still looks a bit dry.
Serve at once on preheated plates, sprinkled with some additional freshly parmigiano, the remaining parsley, and the walnuts (if using).