Posted by: shoji | October 18, 2007

Pasta night: vegetable sauce recipe

Mark Bittman writes a great food column called “Minimalist” for the NYT. His prose is erudite without being snobby. Moreover, many of his suggestions are easy to implement and make for great meal ideas.

Below, he writes about pasta. Apparently, I’ve been breaking the “foodie” rules for a long time: pasta with LOTS of sauce. But if it’s good enough for the Minimalist, it’s good enough for me. (Aside: do you remember the Saturday morning cartoon public service announcement: “Don’t drown your food…”?)

The joy of Sauce is simple: add lots of vegetables or whatever else you want. Here’s my mix-and-match recipe. It’s a great way to empty the ‘fridge.

  • Pasta (any kind)
  • Minced garlic– the more the better
  • Chopped onion– because garlic needs a friend
  • Can of stewed tomatoes
  • Any vegetables you want (e.g., carrots and celery)
  • More of any vegetables you want (e.g., string beans, corn, peppers)
  • A little bit of tomato sauce– try Trader Joe’s Roasted Garlic Marinara
  • Your favorite spices: bay leaf, salt and pepper, maybe Old Bay.
  • Parmesan cheese

Cook the garlic and onion over medium heat in a little olive oil for a few minutes. Cut your vegetables. If your choice of vegetable will take a long time to cook (e.g., carrots) then add them, too.

After that’s cooked halfway, add the can of stewed tomatoes. While you’re at it, add some pasta sauce (just a little bit, for flavoring). Then add the rest of your vegetables (cut to the appropriate size).

If you’re doing it right, it should look like a sampling of a farmers’ market in stewed tomatoes at this point. Don’t forget to taste and season the mixture with your favorite spices.

When the sauce is all cooked through, ladle it over your [already cooked] pasta. Add fresh basil over the top to impress your guests. Don’t forget the Parmesan cheese.

That’s it! Super sauce, with lot’s of vegetables. As with my turkey burgers, you can easily modify the recipe to your liking. (I’d suggest adding a thickening agent like corn starch or arrowroot. Meat lovers: add meat. PETA folks: add tofu.)

If you belong to a CSA and get overwhelmed with a bounty of veges, then try this simple sauce. I’ll tell you about my casserole at some later time.
Image source: Flickr

Serving Pasta? Forget What You Learned – New York Times
LET me propose that you start cooking pasta in a way that might make you the laughingstock of your foodie friends: make more sauce, and serve it on top of less pasta. Do exactly what you’ve learned not to do.


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