A Rare Pasta Dinner

Ah, pasta.  So many pastas are vegan, you’d think I’d be all over them.  Alas, no–I think pasta really impedes my little battle against extra pounds in a way that other carb bases (quinoa, couscous, etc.) do not.  I tend to avoid noodle-based dishes unless there’s something really special going on.

Last night, I finally got to whip up just such a special dish.  When we were in Seattle, Wife and I picked up some ridiculously tasty (even uncooked) Rosemary Garlic Linguine from Pappardelle‘s in the Pike Place Market.  I used that deliciousness to put together a vegan combo that turned out sooo yummy, if a tad dry.  Any dryness would have been easily solved with a splash or two of olive oil before serving, but I figured the pasta was my splurge for the evening, and the dryness didn’t bother me (or Wife).

Flavored Pasta Hash

I called this a “hash” because I threw in ingredients I already had in the house, rather than crafting the dish in my head first.  Try this with any flavored pasta you’d like, so long as it’s in the general Italian family of spices (garlic, basil, etc.).

1/2 lb. long pasta, broken in half or thirds

Splash of olive oil

1/2 cup diced yellow onion

4 cups broccoli florets (or more!)

1 Tbsp minced garlic

Salt, red pepper flakes, extra garlic powder to taste

1 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes (I love them, so feel free to reduce this amount if you’re not likewise besotted)

1. Get the pasta boiling, and make sure not to overcook.  Follow package directions for al dente noodles.  Meanwhile, start on the veggies.

2. Heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add onions and cover.  Cook until the onions just start to soften.  Add broccoli florets–I like them on the small side–and continue cooking, uncovered, until the broccoli starts to char just a bit.  Mix in the garlic.  Cover and continue cooking for a few minutes, until the broccoli is just a shade less tender than you like it.

3. Add salt and other spices to the veggies to taste.  If you’re using unflavored pasta, try rosemary, extra garlic, basil, whatever floats your boat.  Mix everything together and allow it to keep warm in the pan until the pasta is ready.

4. Once the pasta is cooked to your liking, drain it and immediately rinse with cold water.  This stops the cooking process, which is important if 1) you’re not eating right away and b) you’re not adding a sauce.  Otherwise un-sauced pasta can get kind of gummy.

If you’re serving to kids, this might be a good place to chop the pasta into smaller chunks (or, of course, you can start with a kid-friendly noodle–I like the longer pasta for this dish because everything gets kind of wrapped up together).

5. Get the pasta back in the pot and add the veggie mixture and the sun-dried tomatoes.  Toss everything together (with some oil if it’s too sticky) over medium heat until heated through, and add any other spices you’d like.  I added red pepper flakes here.

Voila!  This was a big hit.  It’s also good cold.  For non-vegans, this would be great with some parmesan cheese.  You could also add just a bit–maybe 1/2 cup–of your favorite red sauce at the end, especially if your pasta is unflavored or seems too dry.  Next time, I’ll try adding roasted red pepper, zucchini, and/or chopped bell pepper to up the veggie:pasta ratio.


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