Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Pasta Primavera (my version) Pasta with Vegetables

This isn't a recipe, it's a list.  It's one of my favorites...  Connor absolutely loves it.  It's my "there's nothing to make for dinner and I'm starving and need something right now" go to dish. 

This absolutely serves more than two of us but this is how I make it for Connor and I.  There's a small second helping for each of us and then a bowlful for later.  He's 13 and perpetually hungry mid evening.  

Here's how I do it:

Put a giant pot of water, heavily salted, on to boil.  I learned the water should taste like the sea, if it doesn't, add more salt.

Grab 1/2 pack of angel hair pasta, I prefer Barilla.  Break the pasta into thirds and put in a bowl, waiting.  Get another serving bowl and throw a handful of frozen peas in it, set it aside.  

You'll need a little cream and a little chicken stock, I always have both on hand.  You CAN use water in place of the stock and you CAN use half and half in place of the cream, it's no excuse not to make this. 

While the water is on to heat, chop into small pieces and put into separate piles on your cutting board:

2 slices of bacon
1/2 small onion
1/2 small zucchini
2 small tomatoes
2 garlic cloves
handful of whatever fresh herbs you have, parsley, basil, thyme, oregano (be judicious, it's strong when it's fresh)
*you can add ANY fresh vegetable or greens you have on hand

Put a medium sized fry pan on medium high and start to fry the bacon in a drizzle of either olive oil or bacon fat, just to get it going... fry it until it's pretty and brown and it's rendered it's fat. 

ADD the onion and fry for a moment then add the zucchini and garlic cloves.  Shush it around a bit on a medium high heat.  If you're in the mood, add a little butter for flavor and richness.  Butter and bacon and bacon fat and onions, really, there's few things so spectacular in the kitchen.

OH look, it's time to toss the pasta in the boiling water, stir it around and set the timer for 4 minutes. 

Add some stock to the vegetables and bring it to a vigorous boil, add some cream and the tomatoes.  Boil it for a minute or so then add most of the herbs.  Salt and pepper to taste, add the frozen peas and let it simmer for the rest of the pasta cooking time, it'll reduce and the flavor will absolutely become richer. 

When the pasta is cooked, keep about a cup of the pasta water then drain it well.  Add the pasta to the sauce in the pan and add a little of the pasta water to loosen it up.  Toss well, add the rest of the fresh herbs and toss around again. 

Serve in 2 deep bowls with loads of freshly grated Parmesan cheese and more freshly ground pepper. 

Eat with abandon and joy

The sauce simmering down...mixed with the vegetables...piled high in a bowl

Shave fresh Parmesan over it, quick, delicious, hope it'll become a 'go to' for you as well.


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