Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Super Easy Tuscan Roasted Veggies and Pasta

I'm always looking for dishes that I can make into "grown-up food" that my preschooler will eat too. I set aside some plain pasta with lots of parmesan cheese and raw veggies for his plate, and Rich and I get to eat the recipe below. Everyone is happy! I got this idea from Everyday Food, a Martha Stewart magazine. If you don't have capers on hand, you can substitute some chopped olives (green or calamata). Capers are pretty cheap and easy to find in the pickle aisle at the grocery store. If you like a stronger garlic taste--and I do--you can also use a garlic press and add 3 of the garlic cloves before simmering the vegetables in the pasta water instead of roasting them. I wouldn't use all 5 garlic cloves if you use this method, unless you have very understanding friends or only communicate by phone or email.

Easy Tuscan Roasted Veg & Pasta
1 large red bell pepper cut into strips
1/4 purple onion cut into strips
1 small container of grape tomatoes, whole
5 cloves garlic, still in their paper skins
1 Tb olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 Tb Italian herbs (basil, oregano, parsley mix usually)
5 or so leaves of basil chopped roughly
2 Tb capers
8 oz pasta (I like to mix whole wheat and white farfalle pasta), boiled and drained
1/4 cup hot pasta water

Toss peppers, onion, tomatoes and garlic cloves in oil and season with herbs and salt and pepper. Place on a foil-lined sheet and bake at 400' for 10 minutes or until soft and slightly blackened or roasted. Let cool. Remove garlic from skin and roughly chop. Reserve 1/4 cup of water from boiling pasta and add all roasted veg and garlic to it. Simmer for a few minutes until thickened. Toss in cooked pasta, chopped fresh basil and capers. Add a little extra olive oil, if desired, and shaved parmesan on top. Enjoy!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Yes, I'm still alive...

Admittedly, it's been a few weeks since I last posted. Vacations, out-of-town visitors, busy family life and all lame excuses aside, I just haven't been in the mood to cook anything worth writing about. I'm a bit of a manic cook--baking something new every week one month and then eating burgers and pasta for the next 30 days. But summer is coming and with it all the joys of fresh fruits and veggies. Surely something will inspire me a garden?

This year we're keeping our garden simple (after bigger, more elaborate plans): red peppers, cherry tomatoes and basil. We already have mint, rhubarb and parsley from last year. I harvested the first crop of rhubarb and we picked strawberries this week...that sounds promising. My mom always made the best strawberry rhubarb pies. Rich still talks about them. Maybe I'll give it a try this week. And the parsley, tomatoes and mint make me think of tabouleh salad. Mmmm. I can't wait for the basil to kick in, so I can make some more pesto to put up in the freezer. I'm warming up now. Stay tuned...
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