Thursday, February 12, 2009
Desi's accused me of cooking a lot of pasta recently because I'm hosting the It's A Vegan World: Italian event.
Between you and me, there is maybe-- just maybe-- some truth to that. But then again, why not eat all the pasta you can? Apparently Sophia Loren eats it every day, and just look at her! I can always dream, can't I?
I add vodka to this very light sauce because it gives the sauce a great depth of flavor. Besides, the alcohol all cooks off, so rest assured you aren't going to get tipsy after dinner.
Angel-hair pasta is best in this recipe, although regular spaghetti would be fine. The secret here is to add a ton of veggies. Use anything you have on hand. I used mushrooms, green beans and onions, but you could add bell peppers, eggplant, scallions (spring onions), even leafies like arugula, baby spinach or watercress.
I stir in some walnuts to give the pasta more crunch and texture. Pine nuts would work great too.
So here's my easy, weeknight pasta recipe. Try and use whole-wheat pasta to make sure your dish is as healthy as can be.
Angel-Hair Pasta with Green Beans and Mushrooms
1/2 pound whole-grain angel-hair pasta, cooked according to instructions in salted water.
In the last 5 minutes of cooking, add to the pot:
1 cup of chopped green beans.
Stop the cooking as soon as the pasta is al dente. Drain the pasta and beans and set aside. Reserve about 1/2 to 1 cup of the pasta water.
Heat 1/4 cup of olive oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
Saute, stirring frequently, until the onion softens and turns translucent.
Add 1 pound of sliced button or cremini mushrooms and 1/3 cup of vodka
Saute the mushrooms until they start to caramelize and the liquid is mostly gone.
Add 6 sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil and 1 tsp dried oregano or 2-3 tbsp of fresh oregano, finely chopped
Add 1 tbsp fresh-ground black pepper and salt to taste.
Stir everything together, then add the pasta and beans. Add 1/2 cup of the pasta-boiling water.
Toss together and continue cooking on very low heat another couple of minutes.
Stir in 1/3 cup of lightly toasted and coarsely chopped walnuts.
Let the pasta stand another couple of minutes before serving.