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Pasta Verdura

Posted by tinako on May 18, 2009

Dinner tonight was adapted from a pasta recipe I tore out of a magazine called “A Real Life” years ago.   The magazine was interesting, a fun read.  I just checked out their web site and it looks like they may be wiffle-waffling about so-called “humanely raised meat,” which I can’t support, so I’m not really sure what they’re about.  Disclaimer aside, I have found their directions for making pasta helpful so I want to give them credit.  They didn’t give the dish a name so I invented one, using the Italian word for vegetable, I hope.  This isn’t specific enough to be a recipe, so it’s not getting its own page.  I give you… Pasta Verdura.

  • Boil a pot of water.
  • While the water is heating up, prepare the vegetables.
  • Put 1 T olive oil in a frypan and heat it on medium.  If you’re using onions, give them a head start in the hot oil for about 5 minutes, until they are browned.  Hard vegetables like carrots or beets could go in now, too.
  • Turn the heat down to low and add the rest of the vegetables.  Toss them in the oil just to seal in the flavor, and then add just enough water (or wine – my own idea!)  to cover the bottom of the pan.  She says ~ 1/2″ deep, but that is too much I think.  This will be the sauce, so you just want it juicy; if you have to drain it, you’re losing flavor.
  • Cover the frypan and put the pasta in the boiling water.
  • After 3-4 minutes, turn off the heat to the frypan.  You could add fresh herbs at this time.
  • When the pasta is al dente, drain and toss in the vegetables.
  • Salt to taste.

You can use pretty much any vegetable.  Ideas: broccoli, leeks, peppers, garlic, ginger, arugula or other greens, cauliflower, roma tomatoes, bokchoy, corn, scallions, zucchini, onions, peas, beans, nuts, seeds, tofu, carrots, mushrooms, oh, you get the idea.  Don’t put in everything you’ve got.  Pick a few that harmonize with the herbs you want to use.  Dried herbs would be fine.  You can get themey, like Mexican (beans, salsa or tomatoes, cumin, etc.) or whatever.  Of course then you have to change the name.  Have the castanets on hand for when you shout out, “Pasta Mexicana!” in answer to, “What is this?”  The article suggested  putting together bokchoy, corn (maybe baby corn?), scallions, ginger, and buckwheat soba noodles with tamari (instead of water/wine) and with raw red cabbage shredded on top.  Probably water chestnuts or sprouts would be good on this, too.  Watch out, soba noodles sometimes have egg.

Pasta Verdura, Nut Brown Ale Bread, Broccoli, Riesling

Pasta Verdura, Nut Brown Ale Bread, Broccoli, Riesling

Tonight I started dinner for four with half a minced red onion, then added in two cloves minced garlic, a chopped roma tomato, chopped zucchini, red cooking wine, and then chopped fresh basil.  I added a little salt and freshly ground pepper.  I served this over whole wheat fettucine with cashew parmesan.  I chop things pretty small because my family objects to big chunks of vegetables on their pasta.

When you make this, you have to understand that this sauce is not going to be thick and red.  This is not Pasta Marinara.  It is a light flavorful sauce, probably different than anything you’ve had before.  I recommend the cooking wine, to make sure you get plenty of flavor.  I also recommend having a vegan Parmesan on hand in case it needs a little oomph.  Tonight it would have been good without.

With this I served, as you can see, Nut Brown Ale Bread from the freezer, and microwaved broccoli.

Adzuki Beans for sprouting

Adzuki Beans for sprouting

I started some new sprouts today, this time Adzuki beans.  I have never sprouted anything but alfalfa.  I saw some directions that said to use 1/2 c for a quart jar, so that is what I bought, and it was about 40 cents organic.  Compare to what you would pay for a quart already sprouted, and my sprouts look much better than the ones in the store.  These need to soak in plenty of water for longer than the alfalfa, which I just get damp.  I will let them sit submerged for 12 hours.   Then I will rinse and drain them twice a day as with the alfalfa.

I had tried sprouting some red lentils from a regular Goya bag a few months back and they didn’t do anything, just turned to mush.  These adzuki were sold as sprouting beans, and I’m not sure cooking beans will work.  They may not be alive anymore for some reason.

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