We recently made a discovery that many of you probably figured out already: there are other ways to eat pasta than with tomato sauce. Pasta is a wonderful thing, and so is a classy tomato sauce, which is why we’ve been working on making both ourselves (part of our “living simply” mission is to get rid of unnecessary ingredients and preservatives in our favorite foods). But we’re always looking for new ways to eat stuff, and this meal was our pasta epiphany. Most of the other alternatives I’ve seen either involve a lot of cream (like alfredo sauce) or oil (like most pesto recipes), so it was great to realize that pasta could still taste good without so much richness added to it.
This is less of a recipe than it is an encouragement and permission to mess around with these general ideas (although it is also a recipe). Cook your pasta most of the way, and then mix it into a pan full of well-sauteed veggies to finish cooking before serving. There’s a lot of variation possible, which is why I want you to experiment with it. You can try it with a few carefully selected veggies that really complement each other (the way I like to do it), or you can just clean out your fridge and use everything in sight (the way my wife likes to do it). We met in the middle for this recipe; there were a lot of different flavors, but we tried to stick to an “Italian” theme with zucchini, onions, sundried tomatoes, and artichoke hearts. I’d really like to hear what other combinations you all come up with, so please share.
Italian Vegetable Pasta Recipe
1/2 red onion, sliced
5-6 sundried tomatoes, diced
1-2 zucchinis, cubed
3-4 artichoke hearts, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, chopped roughly
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
salt, pepper, oregano, basil, parsley to taste
1/2 box dried spaghetti or pasta of your choice (penne would be another nice option)
grated parmesan cheese – optional (not the powdery stuff)
Not much to it. Put a giant pot of water on the heat right away, because it takes like forever to boil. In the meantime, prepare your veggies (chop, slice, dice, etc). Bonus points if any of them come out of the freezer because of your keen foresight at a previous date.
Heat a large skillet (preferably cast iron) to medium high heat. Once your water is boiling, add your pasta to get it started.
With a little of the oil, sautee the veggies aggressively in the skillet, starting with the onions and moving to the more tender veggies toward the end.
When your pasta is almost done (still fairly “al dente”) remove it and drain it briefly. Add it to the pan with the veggies and an additional drizzle of the oil. Add the spices to your taste. Alternatively, you can do all this in a smaller pan and do each person’s portion separately.
At the last minute, add the parmesan if you’re using it. Serve with some kind of awesome bread, and enjoy.
Care to share what your favorite veggies are for this kind of thing?
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