Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Fresh, easy, healthy, and versatile, I knew this dish would be perfect for a weeknight. Little did I know, this would become one of our favorite meals ever. You can use whatever pasta you have on hand and whatever veggies look fresh, on sale, or just pretty. I have used all of those qualifiers to select produce before.
In fact, when I was at the Farmers Market, I actually planned to use squash and zucchini in this recipe. I wanted to thinly slice half of each and then grate the rest to make the sauce really thick. I promise up and down that I bought some at the same stand where I bought the potatoes and onions. But as you can see in my recap, it's not in my picture. And it certainly wasn't in the refrigerator when I was frantically looking for it tonight.
Anyway, the magic components to this dish are garlic and cheese. A little minced garlic (or a lot if you're cooking for JT) and a sprinkle of cheese transform the vegetables into a party for your palate. Here's the recipe.
Pasta (whatever you have on hand; I used bowtie)
EVOO, salt, and pepper
1 onion, diced
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
2-3 cups of cherry tomatoes, halved
1-2 handfuls of spinach
1 wedge of Laughing Cow cheese
1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
basil for garnish (hopefully not purchased at the grocery store like me :( )
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta according to package directions.
Meanwhile, heat a large skillet to medium-high and saute onion with a sprinkle of salt and pepper until onions are glossy and starting to get yellow. Add minced garlic and cook until fragrant. Make sure your cherry tomatoes are about the same size (half the bigger ones) and add to the pan, but stand back. If it's too hot, you could get tomato guts all over you!
When the tomatoes are heated through, carefully smush them with the back of your wooden spoon so a little juice comes out. Add your spinach in handfuls, depending on how much you want, and start stirring. Remember that it will wilt down in the tomato juices a lot!
Your pasta should be cooked by now. Drain all of it except for a tiny bit of water. While it's still hot, add the Laughing Cow cheese wedge and about 1/8 cup of Parmesan. It helps to crumble the Laughing Cow into a few pieces first. Stir like crazy so the cheese will melt, adding a little pasta water or olive oil to help things along if you need to. I added quite a bit of freshly cracked black pepper at this stage, because that's how I roll!
Toss pasta with your delicious veggie mixture and serve with a little chopped basil and some extra Parmesan sprinkled on top.
*Helpful tip: Remember to add a little salt and pepper to taste with each layer (with onions, spinach, tomatoes, etc.). If you taste it as you go and add seasoning as needed, it will taste so much better than if you decide there's not enough at the end.