Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Sans Meat Saturday?

Are you a vegetarian?  If not, do you make it a point to have meatless meals throughout the week?  I notice different groups on social media and elsewhere promote the idea of meatless Mondays to encourage people to reduce their consumption of meat and saturated fats.  Personally, I don't like being tied down to a certain day to eat a certain food (my kids thought it was cool that the neighbors have Taco Tuesdays but I say, what if I feel like spaghetti on Tuesday eh?).  We typically have at least one meatless dinner per week but it's not something we consciously plan out.  It just sort of happens that way.  Yesterday however, was a true meatless Monday (because I forgot to thaw the chicken).  I looked at a couple of different recipes and created my own Springy Pasta with Herbs.
I started with some frozen corn, a few zucchinis a couple of tomatoes, an onion and some garlic (always).
I heated a little olive oil and cooked the onion for a few minutes, then added the corn.
Once the corn was heated through I added the zucchini and cooked a few minutes more.
While the veggies were cooking and pasta was boiling I chopped up a variety of herbs.  Here I have a combo of thyme, parsley, oregano and basil for a total of about 3 tablespoons chopped.
Next I added the herbs, garlic and a couple of chopped tomatoes and a splash of the pasta water to the pan and cooked until the tomatoes broke down a little and zucchini was soft.
While that was working I whisked together a cup of part-skim ricotta, 1/4 cup skim milk and 1/4 cup pasta water.
I added the pasta right into my new fabulous pan that holds a ton!
Pour the cheese right on top and mix well.  I also stirred in a 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese and salt and pepper to taste.
In the end we had a nice creamy, veggie pasta dinner that everybody loved!  I love it when the experiments pay off.

Springy Pasta with Herbs

12 oz farfalle pasta cooked according to package (al dente)
1 Tbs olive oil
1 med onion, chopped
3 med zucchini, chopped
1 3/4 cup corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 med tomatoes, chopped
3 Tbs chopped fresh herbs (any combination of thyme, basil, oregano, parsley)
1 cup part-skim ricotta
1/4 cup skim milk
1/4 cup reserved pasta water
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
kosher salt

Cook pasta according to directions to al dente in salted water.  Drain and reserve 1 cup of pasta water.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a deep skillet.  Cook onions until soft about 5 min.  Add corn kernels and cook about 3 min until corn is heated through.  Add chopped zucchini and cook stirring occasionally 3 min.  When zucchini has softened, add tomatoes, garlic and herbs, cook until tomatoes start to break down slightly.  Add a splash of cooking water if needed.

Meanwhile, whisk ricotta, milk and 1/4 cup pasta water in a small bowl.  Add pasta and then cheese mixture to the skillet stirring to coat veggies and pasta.  Stir in Parmesan and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Serve immediately with a sprinkle of parm if desired.

Hayden loved this so much that he took some to school today and ate it cold for lunch.  Sounds better than a PBJ to me. 

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