Wednesday, August 5, 2009

mmmmmm....pasta.....

One of my favorite comfort foods is a pasta dish paired with a good cold beer or a nice bottle of red wine, depending on the weather. I'm really working hard to incorporate more fresh veggies into our diet and eat a little less meat. I checked my newly favorite recipe site, and found her Mom's recipe for Pasta Primavera. It had all my favorite things , what I wanted(pasta and a little cheese) and what I needed (veggies and less salt). This was a big hit on all sides! Really tasty, and by using whole grain rotini, I felt even better about our healthy meal. Add an ice cold beer and some fresh fruit, and I was a happy CKS.

Mom's Pasta Primavera Recipe

Ingredients:

4 cups of mixed vegetables, for example:
1 carrot, peeled and cut into 2x1/2-inch strips
1 medium zucchini, sliced into 1/4-inch slices
1/2 small eggplant, sliced into 1/4-inch slices
1/2 red onion, sliced into 1/4-inch slices
1/2 bell pepper, any color, cut into thin strips

3 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning or herbes de Provence
A sprinkling of garlic salt
1/4 cup of spaghetti, marinara, or tomato sauce
1 pint of cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 pound pasta (use rice pasta for wheat-free version)
Grated Parmesan (optional)

Method:

1 Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil (for your pasta).

2 Heat oil in a large skillet on medium high heat. Add the vegetables, stir to coat with oil. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring only occasionally, until vegetables are just cooked. Turn off heat, but let pan stay on the burner.

3 While you are cooking the vegetables, add the dry pasta to the boiling water and follow the cooking instructions for the pasta. You want to time it so that the pasta is done soon after the vegetables.

4 Add a 1/4 cup of the spaghetti, marinara, or tomato sauce to the vegetables, along with 1/4 cup of water to thin the sauce. If you are using a prepared spaghetti or marinara sauce, you don't need to add much seasoning, just a 1/2 teaspoon of Italian seasoning or herbes de Provence, a few sprinkles of garlic salt, and salt and pepper to taste. If you are using a plain tomato sauce, you might want to start out cooking the vegetables by cooking a minced clove of garlic first, and then adding the vegetables, and then add a bit more of the seasoning (to taste). Spaghetti and marinara sauce are already seasoned.

5 Once the pasta is ready - cooked but still a bit firm, or al dente - drain the pasta and put it directly into the skillet with the vegetables. Adjust seasoning. Add more sauce if needed. Gently mix in the cherry tomatoes.

Serves 4. Serve with some freshly grated Parmesan, if you like. A little bit of chopped fresh basil would go nicely with this as well.