Monday, May 13, 2013

Easy "Throw Recipe": Pasta with Roasted Spring Vegetables

This simple and versatile recipe is in the "throw cooking" style: I simply used what I had on hand and threw it together without worrying about measurements.

I happened to have fresh asparagus, young carrots and spring onions (aka green onions) from the CSA we joined this year, along with a little bit of white wine from a previously opened bottle, and half a package of whole wheat pasta shells. Because I didn't have any fresh herbs on hand, I used dried herbs. You could either use the same ingredients or substitute other fresh vegetables that you enjoy roasted, and likewise with the herbs (fresh or dry will work). If you don't want to use wine, simply use a little bit of chicken or vegetable broth, or even a bit of the water from the boiled pasta if you are vegan. And the cheese is completely optional.

You can adjust the quantities to make as many servings as you need (the amounts below were sufficient for 2 large or 4 small portions). In fact, the whole point of this post is to inspire and to show that cooking a wholesome, flavorful homemade meal need not be a complicated or expensive proposition.

8 oz whole wheat pasta (or regular pasta)
8 oz asparagus, any tough ends trimmed
2 slender, young carrots, peeled & trimmed
2 spring onions, including green tops
Salt & ground pepper to taste
2 Tbs olive oil
2 Tbs white wine (or broth or pasta water)
Fresh or dried herbs to taste: I used dried thyme
Opt: Shredded parmesan or other cheese, to taste (I used 1/4 cup shredded Gruyere)

Preheat oven to 425°F. Slice the asparagus, carrots and onions into approx. 1/2" rounds. Toss with olive oil, salt & pepper, then place in single layer in a shallow roasting pan (if needed you can drizzle with a little more olive oil). Roast until tender and golden to taste, approx. 30 to 45 minutes.

While the vegetables are roasting, bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil, and then cook the pasta according to package directions -- you'll want to try to time this so that the pasta is ready around the same time as the roasted vegetables. If the vegetables are done first, remove from oven and set aside. If the pasta is done first, drain and set aside in a warm spot with a little bit of the cooking water (not more than a couple of Tablespoons).

When everything is done, transfer the roasted vegetables into the empty pasta pot and use the wine (or broth or pasta water) to deglaze the roasting pan. Add the drained pasta with just a tiny bit of the cooking water back into the pot with the vegetables, pour in the liquid from the deglazed roasting pan, sprinkle with herbs and then gently toss to combine -- a silicone spatula or large wooden spoon works well. Taste and season with salt & pepper if desired, then add cheese if using and gently stir to incorporate the cheese. Serve hot, and refrigerate any leftovers.

Zestfully yours,

PS: If you have a "burning desire" to spice up this dish, by all means feel free to sprinkle with some crushed red pepper flakes, or even a few splashes of your favorite basic hot sauce.

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