Tag Archives: vegetarian pasta

5-Minute Capellini with Tomatoes and Olives

I am an expert of the field of minimal effort cooking.  Mostly this happens on days when I’m just cooking for myself (or at the end of busy, crazy days, or lazy ones).  I threw together this light and tasty pasta in about 5 minutes the other night and man, it was good!

You could use any kind of olives in this, but I happened to have some Castelvetrano olives on hand so i used those.  I recently discovered these and it was love at first taste!  They are bright green and round, and very mild and a bit nutty in flavor.  If your grocery store has an olive bar, that will probably be your best bet if you’re interested in picking some up, but I do occasionally see a jar of them here and there as well.  If you can’t find them, feel free to sub the olive of your choice.

5-Minute Capellini with Tomatoes and Olives

5-Minute Capellini with Tomatoes and Olives

5-Minute Capellini with Tomatoes and Olives

Capellini or angel hair pasta
3-4 vine ripened tomatoes, diced
Handful of olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
1 clove garlic, very thinly sliced or minced
Olive oil
Salt & pepper
Parmesan or feta cheese (optional)

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil while you heat a small skillet over medium heat.  Add a tablespoon or two of olive oil to the skillet.  Toss in the pasta and keep an eye on it.  Capellini is very thin; it will only take about 4 minutes to cook.  While the pasta is cooking, saute the garlic in olive oil for about 30 seconds, until fragrant but not browned.  Add tomatoes and olives.  Turn heat down to low and give the mixture an occasional stir until the pasta is ready.  You really don’t need to cook the veggies much, mostly you are just heating them up and letting some of their juices release and combine to make it a little more saucy.

Just a little mingle in the heat to really bring out the flavor.

Just a little mingle in the heat to really bring out the flavor.

Taste and add a pinch of salt and pepper if needed (depending on the type of olives you use, you may not need much salt at all, if any).  Drain pasta (reserve a bit of the pasta water) and toss with tomato mixture.  If pasta seems dry you can add in a little bit of the reserved pasta water or drizzle with a touch of olive oil.  Serve immediately with a sprinkle of parmesan or feta if desired.

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Brussels Sprouts, Breadcrumbs and Bacon

My desk is somewhat of an archeological dig.  There are layers and layers of things that I have every intention of addressing at some point.  Last night a pile was dislodged and a page ripped from a magazine floated down to my feet.  As I picked it up, I realized I held the solution for dinner in my hands.  And there was the added bonus that I was sufficiently distracted by my discovery that I completely forgot whatever I was digging for in the first place.  Who says a messy desk is a bad thing?

At first I thought these ingredients sounded like a strange combination, but the flavors work together perfectly and it’s incredibly flavorful.  My daughter is still talking about how good it was!  For a vegetarian option, just eliminate the bacon.

Pasta with Brussels Sprouts, Breadcrumbs and Bacon

Pasta with Brussels Sprouts, Breadcrumbs & Bacon
(adapted from Cooking Light)

8 ounces rigatoni pasta (or whatever shape you like)
4-5 strips bacon (optional, leave out for a vegetarian meal)
2 tsp. unsalted butter
1/4 cup panko
12 oz. Brussels sprouts, trimmed and sliced lengthwise into 3 or 4 slices each
1 cup thinly sliced onion
1 tsp. minced garlic
2/3 cup chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 – 1 tsp. grated lemon rind
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 ounces fresh parmesan cheese, coarsely grated or shaved
2 tsp. pine nuts, toasted

Cook pasta until tender.  Drain and transfer to a large serving bowl.  Keep warm.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a small skillet over medium heat.  Add panko to pan.  Cook  3 minutes until browned, stirring frequently.  Set aside.  Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove from pan and drain on paper towels.  Discard bacon grease.  (I usually keep about a tablespoon in there to cook with but if you want to be a little healthier, or if you aren’t using the bacon, wipe out grease and use olive oil instead).

Add Brussels sprouts to pan.  Cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Yum! I love Brussels Sprouts.

Add onion and garlic and continue to cook 3 more minutes or until onion is tender. and the Brussels sprouts are lightly browned.  Add broth, lemon rind, lemon juice, thyme leaves, salt & pepper.  Cover and cook 2 minutes or until sprouts are crisp-tender.  Add mixture. to pasta and toss well.  Sprinkle with cheese, pine nuts, breadcrumbs and crumbled bacon.  Serve immediately.

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Twisted Tomato Corkscrews

Tomato season is upon us!  If you are a more successful gardener than I am, you very well may be covered up in tomatoes coming off the vines about now.  Unfortunately my measly handful of tomatoes will not suffice for this recipe but my friendly neighborhood farmer’s market helped me out this time.  I am also available to take any and all unwanted excess produce that my gardening friends don’t know what to do with.

You could probably use canned tomatoes to make this, but honestly, I’ve never tried it.  Why would you? This is one recipe that I hold in reserve for summertime only.  And it is worth every minute of the wait.  The taste of fresh garden tomatoes simply can’t be matched.  Prepping the tomatoes is a little bit of work, but it’s not difficult and well worth the effort, I promise!

Mouthwatering Tomato Corkscrews

Twisted Tomato Corkscrews

2-3 pounds Roma tomatoes (or other small, firm tomato, like Early Girl)
1 tsp. salt
1/3 cup olive oil
2/3 cup chopped cilantro
1/3 cup chopped red onion
1 jalapeno, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 tbsp. lime juice
1 1/2 tbsp. tomato paste
2-3 tsp. chili powder
12 oz. rotini or fusilli pasta
1 cup shredded parmesan cheese

Bring a pot of water to a boil.  Set aside a large bowl of ice water.  Slice a shallow “x” in the bottom of each tomato.

Cut a shallow “x” in the bottom of each tomato. This will make the peeling part really easy!

Drop tomatoes into boiling water in two or three batches.  Let them cook about one minute, until skin starts to peel.  Remove with tongs and put directly into the bowl of ice water to cool.  The peels should then slide right off easily.  Peel, cut in half and squeeze out the seeds.  Coarsely chop tomatoes.  Stir in salt and set aside.

Oh now isn’t that lovely.

Heat olive oil in a small skillet or sauce pan.  Add onion, jalapeno and garlic and cook over medium heat for about 3-4 minutes, until fragrant.  Pour over tomatoes.  Add cilantro, lime juice, tomato paste and chili powder and mix well to combine.

Where’s my spoon?

Add pasta to boiling water (I use the same water I used to blanch the tomatoes) and cook 8-10 minutes until tender.  Rinse with cool water and let drain.  Add to tomato mixture.  Add cheese and toss well to combine.  Taste for seasoning and add more salt if needed.

Time to dive in! Yum!

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