Wednesday, February 16, 2011

"WHATEV" Veggie Pasta

Our family calls it this because we use whatev we find at the store that looks good.  (Last night we used an eggplant, two yellow squash, one onion, two cloves garlic, cherry tomatoes and baby portabella mushrooms.) You can grill, roast or saut√© your veggies—whatev you prefer.   Then use any shape of whole-wheat/multi-grain pasta you like--bowties, penne, linguini, whatev.   It’s always good and fresh and it’s not like we’re eating the same thing over and over again.  If you make a particularly good combination, let me know!  I love to try new options.

For those of you that require a "RECIPE" to follow with exact amounts and process, this is not it.  I apologize.  This recipe is a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of dish.  And I'm a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of girl.

Menu: Whatev Veggie Pasta, served with fresh Strawberries, Grapes and Blueberries

WHATEV VEGGIE PASTA (Heginger-style)

Step 1: pick your veggies.  Some good combinations are eggplant, zucchini/yellow squash with portabellas, broccoli with cauliflower and red peppers and carrots, winter squash with button mushrooms, red peppers with tomatoes with fresh basil, etc.  I recommend you go to the store and just pick what looks good together.  Try to make it colorful.  Gracie calls this “rainbow” pasta.  I always start with onions and fresh garlic and add the veggies. The kids love to pick out what they want and that always, always includes baby portabellas.

Step 2: pick your process.  If you are grilling or roasting, start by brushing your veggies with a little olive oil, then season with sea salt, fresh cracked peppercorns and fresh herbs (basil, oregano, parsley, rosemary, thyme, etc.).  If sauteing be sure to use a pan with enough space, and don't overcook them.  You don't want mush. One note—do mushrooms separately because they tend to color the other veggies and make them look dirty.  So I cook them separately and then add at the end.

Step 3: Simple sauce.  I use ½ c. to 1 c. liquid to serve about 6-8.  Doesn't seem like enough, but it is.  Sometimes I use veggie broth, sometimes just water, sometimes dry white wine.  Sometimes I mix it up.  Play with your food.  Bring the liquid to a simmer in a pan with about 2 T. tomato paste (the good kind out of the tube) and season with more herbs of your liking.  This is not meant to be a “saucy” dish.  It’s all about the veggies.

Step 4: Toss it all together with your favorite shaped whole-wheat or multi-grain pasta. At the table, you can drizzle on a little olive oil or even a good balsamic vinegar.  Fresh cracked pepper to finish it off.  I sometimes make homemade garlic croutons.  My kids like it when I sprinkle a few of these on for some crunch.

I usually make about 3 official servings of pasta (half a box-ish) and a big cookie sheet full of veggies.  This is enough for a big meal with friends, or a meal plus a couple lunches.  This dish should end up about 60-75% veggies and the pasta is just to fill in.

I hope you enjoy playing with this recipe and I really hope you share with me what you like.  And if don't share it with me, then well, WHATEV.

1 comment:

  1. My daycare boy who is "allergic to all the vegetables in the world" ate three helpings of this for lunch today. He loved the eggplant (who knew?!?) and the tomatoes most. The hardest part with kids is convincing them to get adventurous in their eating. Once they start, they seem to jump on board pretty quickly.