Why I Am Posting These Recipes

I believe that it is healthier for an individual and for the planet to reduce the consumption of animal products in the human diet. However, I love to eat all kinds of delicious food, and find it really, really difficult to go totally vegetarian. Also, my family protests if I serve too many vegetarian meals in a row. So I am committed to making an effort to move towards a vegetarian diet without wholly doing so. I will post recipes several times a week that represent my philosophy of eating well, eating healthy, eating local. Most recipes will be easy to prepare, as I have a busy life. So I expect my followers to be people who love to cook and eat well, want to try to help the planet through their eating (by eating local foods and trying to reduce the use of meat in our diets), and have many other things to do each day besides cook.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Pasta with Vegetables and White Balsamic Vinegar

I am on an email list for America's Test Kitchen, and periodically receive recipes that have been tested and are usually good.  Recently, they sent me a recipe for pasta with pan-roasted vegetables, which I adapted to include many more vegetables, what I had in my kitchen, and what I thought would taste best.  The main thing I got from them was the technique of cooking the vegetables in the pan with a cover to steam them, an interesting idea.  The result was a nice vegetable sauce with plenty of flavor.  Together with the whole wheat pasta, this dish seems hearty enough to fill you up for a main-dish supper.  With all the various nutrients from the different vegetables, you don't need to worry about getting a well-balanced diet.  This provides lots of nutritional balance.  Grated parmesan cheese is a nice touch at the end, though if you are following a vegan diet you will not include this.  It is good either way.  I put a pot of water on the stove to boil, then cut up all the vegetables and put them in little bowls, so that when I started cooking them, they were ready to throw in the pan.  You can cook the pasta while you are cooking the vegetables--just don't forget to ladle out some of the pasta cooking water before you drain the pasta!

12 oz. whole wheat pasta, cooked until al dente, save some water that pasta was boiled in
extra virgin olive oil
white balsamic vinegar
1 onion, chopped
1 zucchini, cut into 2” matchstick-like pieces
1 carrot, cut into 2” matchstick-like pieces
½ head cauliflower, cut into florets
4 baby bella mushrooms, or a few of another kind of mushroom, sliced
1 red pepper, cut into 2” strips
black pepper to taste
½ tsp sea salt
2 cloves garlic, pressed
4 small tomatoes (or rough equivalent volume of another size--I used greenhouse-grown, vine-ripened tomatoes), diced
¾ lb. baby spinach leaves
handful of fresh parsley, chopped
grated parmigiano reggiano (optional)

Heat olive oil in skillet over medium heat.  Saute onions until translucent.  Add zucchini, carrots, cauliflower, mushrooms, and red pepper.  Drizzle a little white balsamic vinegar over all, then add some freshly ground black pepper and ½ tsp sea salt.  Stir everything together.  Cover pan, reduce heat to low, and cook for about 5 minutes.  Remove cover and continue to cook until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes more.  Add garlic and toss everything together well.  Add baby spinach leaves and cook until leaves wilt, stirring.  This should take another minute or two.

Put drained pasta into large bowl, add cooked vegetables, diced tomatoes, parsley, a ladle full of the cooking water from boiling the pasta, drizzle a little more white balsamic vinegar over all, and toss well.  If desired, grate parmigiano reggiano over each individual serving.  Add salt to taste.  Serves 4-5.

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