Cleaning Out The Fridge Pasta

I call this “Cleaning Out The Fridge Pasta”.

At the end of the day on Friday, I opened my fridge to see what I had to inspire me to prepare dinner. All week long I save little bits of leftover vegetables, sauce and stock – and lo and behold, put them together and dinner presents itself!

This week I had a container of mushrooms that needed to be sauteed. I had some white beans left over from a salad. I had extra garlic chopped. I had a handful of arugula. I had vegetable broth that needed to be used. And I had a cup of homemade marinara sauce. Not to mention that I try to have organic green peas (fresh or frozen) on hand at all times. In addition I had some fun tri- color pasta that I wanted to try.

There’s not really an exact recipe here- just let it flow.

In a large skillet, I lightly sauteed the garlic in EVOO, added the mushrooms with salt to taste. Let that go until the mushrooms were almost done. Next, I added the marinara sauce and some vegetable broth and the beans.

While that was simmering away I cooked the pasta until almost done and then added the peas for the last 3 minutes of cooking.

Back to the sauce- I added the arugula and let it wilt. And a healthy pinch of red pepper flakes and freshly ground black pepper.6ABF9778-95E7-4A46-A993-431CAABA1003

Pasta is cooked- so out comes my spider and I scoop the pasta into the skillet with the sauce.img_4046

I let the pasta and sauce cook for a minute or two, added more vegetable broth to taste and- DINNER WAS READY!!

The lesson here is that nothing really goes to waste. And when you cook with vegetables, mostly everything goes well together. So next time that you have a few stalks of broccoli left over, or a small handful of spinach or not enough tomato sauce to stand on it’s own- you can have a new (and thoroughly your own) dinner ready in just a few minutes.

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P.S. Happy Mother’s Day!!

Hypopastemia

Sometime in the 1970’s, my father came across an article describing an Italian’s physical reaction to being deprived of pasta for more than two days. The syndrome was called “Hypopastemia”. It became the running by-word in our home when we missed our pasta for whatever reason and we were starting to get the “shakes”.

We ate some form of pasta 6 nights of the week – sometimes small pastina in soup, sometimes a tube shaped pasta with a meat sauce (aka gravy), sometimes spaghetti with clam sauce, but most often it was pasta with different vegetables. Saturday was reserved for steak and mashed potatoes, my grandparents concession to living in America.

So now after a long day at work the most comforting meal for me is a bowl of pasta with a lot of vegetables plus a large salad and sauteed beans.

Here is another quick recipe. I call this dish: Pasta Verdure (lush green vegetables).

PASTA VERDURE

INGREDIENTS:

2 medium zucchini, cut into matchsticks

Zucchini Matchsticks
Zucchini Matchsticks

½ red onion, thinly sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

Small head of Kale or Swiss Chard, tough stems removed and coarsely chopped

1 cup of frozen peas

1 small bunch asparagus, cut into 2 inch pieces

½ cup Extra Virgin Olive oil (EVOO), divided

½ pound Penne Pasta

Salt and pepper to taste

¼ tsp red pepper flakes

2 TBS balsamic vinegar

METHOD:

Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil.

Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan heat 2TBS of the EVOO.

Green Vegetables
Green Vegetables

Add the onion and sauté for about 2 minutes. Add the garlic, cook another 2 minutes.

Add the zucchini. Sauté over medium high heat, until the vegetables are wilted and just cooked through. This should take about 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Cook pasta according to package directions, BUT for the last 3 minutes of cooking time add the kale, peas and asparagus. Reserve ¾ cup of the pasta cooking water.

Drain the pasta and add to the pan with the sautéed vegetables.

Heat over medium heat- adding some of the EVOO and some of the pasta water to loosen the vegetables and make a “sauce”. Add the red pepper flakes, cook for 1 minute.

Add the balsamic vinegar.

Serve and enjoy!

Serves 3-4