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Giada’s Pasta Primavera

12 Oct

The first time I had this was when the lovely Weesie made it for me – it was SO good that I just had to make it myself.  I’ve made it a couple times and every time, I love it.  It’s healthy and filling and delicious – what more could you ask for.  It’s perfect when you want something with a lot of vegetables.  Here it is:

  • 3 carrots, peeled and cut into thin strips
  • 2 medium zucchini or 1 large zucchini, cut into thin strips
  • 2 yellow squash, cut into thin strips
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips (I’m not a huge red bell pepper fan, so I used orange instead and it’s a great substitute)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (I used a little extra, of course)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried Italian herbs or herbes de Provence
  • 1 pound farfalle (bowtie pasta)
  • 15 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan (as always, a little extra cheese)

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

On a large heavy baking sheet, toss all of the vegetables with the oil, salt, pepper, and dried herbs to coat. Transfer half of the vegetable mixture to another heavy large baking sheet and arrange evenly over the baking sheets.

Bake until the carrots are tender and the vegetables begin to brown, stirring after the first 10 minutes, about 20 minutes total.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente, tender but still firm to the bite, about 8 minutes.  Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid.

Toss the pasta with the vegetable mixtures in a large bowl to combine. Toss with the cherry tomatoes and enough reserved cooking liquid to moisten.  Season the pasta with salt and pepper, to taste.

Sprinkle with the Parmesan and serve immediately.

Pasta with Eggplant and Pesto

13 Aug
This is the story of three foods that moved in together and created the most delicious relationship.
 
Friends: meet Pesto, Pasta, & Eggplant.
 
For the Pesto:
2 packed cups fresh basil leaves
1/4 c toasted pine nuts
1 clove garlic (I don’t believe you can ever use too much garlic; I put in two)
1/2 tsp salt, plus extra for seasoning
1/4 tsp black pepper, plus extra for seasoning
2/3 c EVOO, eyeball it
1/2 c grated Parmesan, plus extra for topping
 
Mix all in a food processor (or blender).  If you don’t have either, borrow one from a neighbor.  Store-bought pesto is “ehhh”; homemade pesto is da bomb.
 
 
For the Pasta:
Bring a large pot of salted (a palm full) water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta (I used what I had although I prefer penne–you can use whatev, though) and cook for about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and save about 1 cup of the pasta water.
Put the pasta into a large serving bowl and add 1/2 cup of the Parmesan. Toss until coated.
For the Eggplant:
In a large, nonstick skillet, heat the EVOO over med-high heat. Add the eggplant and season with salt and pepper.
Cook, stirring frequently, until the eggplant turns golden brown, about 8 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and cool slightly. Add the pesto and toss until the eggplant is coated.

 

Add the eggplant mixture to the serving bowl with the pasta and toss until all of the ingredients are coated. Thin out the sauce with a little pasta water (if needed). Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Top with extra parmesan…Weesie, are you down wit dat?
 
 
Holly’s Notes:
I prefer an all basil pesto, but when I got to my fridge, I realized I only had about 3/4 c of basil leaves. I threw in 1/2 c of baby spinach, and it still tasted great (arugula also works as a substitute).
To toast the pine nuts, arrange them in a single layer in a small skillet over medium-low heat. Toast for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. They’re done when golden-brown…and you can smell’em. Caution: these suckers burn easily, so watch’em.
Eggplants are a really “thirsty” vegetable, so I often have to add extra EVOO to the skillet as they’re cooking. 
***If you’re like my husband and dinner isn’t complete without meat, I just heated up some leftover chicken I had in the fridge and served it right on top.
  
  
*Recipe courtesy of Giada DeLaurentiis

Farfalle with Broccoli

11 Aug

Per Eepies request, here is one of my favorite pasta dishes!  The recipe is courtesy of Giada.  (I love her.)  It’s easy, quick, and I usually always have the ingredients on hand.  It’s also really easy to cut in half for 1 – 2 people and the leftovers taste great!  Now, it calls for anchovies.  Those kinda gross me out.  So instead I substitute 5 slices of bacon.  I realize that the size of an anchovy is not exactly proportional to a slice of bacon, but I like bacon.  Enough said.  🙂

1 pound farfalle pasta (bowties)
2 heads broccoli, trimmed to florets
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons butter
3 garlic cloves, chopped
5 anchovy fillets, diced (aka – bacon, cooked and chopped)
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmesan

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.  Add the pasta and cook, stirring occasionally.  After 5 minutes, add the broccoli florets to the pasta and stir.  Cook for another 4 minutes.  Drain pasta and broccoli, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat.  Add the garlic, anchovies (bacon), and red pepper flakes and cook for 5 minutes.  Add the broccoli, pasta, salt and pepper and toss.  Add some of the reserved pasta water, if necessary, to make a light sauce.  ( I usually only add a little water, if any at all.)  Transfer to a serving platter and sprinkle with Parmesan.   Yield: 4-6 servings