Monday, April 23, 2012

Sunday Dinner: Pasta Primavera

“This is unique. I really like it.” This is what my dad said upon trying this pasta. Whew! Here’s how it evolved:

Last week I mentioned that I usually decide on Saturdays what I’m going to make on Sunday. This week was different. I’m swamped with a writing deadline (I write ESL textbooks in my “other” life!) and so I really wanted something super quick, fresh, and, as always, beautiful and tasty. I also was feeling chilled by the much-needed rain that finally hit New York. So, what I did I do? I went to the market.

There I was inspired—as always—by what I saw: asparagus, just $1.99 a bunch, many colored peppers (such a fan of roasted peppers), and what my market calls Mexican zucchini.  I roasted my asparagus, roasted orange and yellow peppers, zucchini and red onions. Toasted some pine nuts (had those), added some Kalamata olives, sautéed a bit of cubed pancetta,  cooked up some campanelle pasta (bell-shaped, so pretty!), and put it all together. Served it with Poor Man’s Salad (hmmm…maybe I’ll share this one on Wednesday!), and a baguette of multi-grain bread. Worked well! AND I have more for us to enjoy today after work….

My style of Pasta Primavera--before plating and with a bit of steam coming off the top! 
Pasta Primavera

I use this title loosely; you can substitute whatever veggies you find, or are inspired by—and also vary amounts depending on your and your family’s preferences.

Serves 8 to 10

2 bunches fresh asparagus, trimmed
Extra virgin olive oil
2 bell peppers (I used 1 orange and 1 yellow), stemmed, sliced, and coarsely chopped
2 red onions, peeled and coarsely chopped
5 green zucchini, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
1 cup toasted pine nuts
1 cup cubed and toasted pancetta (optional, of course!)
1/2 cup Kalamata olives

I pound campanelle pasta

Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
Parsley or basil leaves (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400° F. Lay a single layer of asparagus on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and roast until tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside. (When cool enough to handle, cut into 2-inch sticks.)

Meanwhile, combine the bell peppers, onions and zucchini and add to a baking pan. Drizzle with oil and stir. Roast for about 25 minutes.

Cook the pasta in plenty of water until al dente (about 9 minutes). While the pasta is in the colander, add the roasted vegetables to the pot. Add the pasta and stir. Season for taste and serve. Add parsley or basil as you plate your pasta. 

Christine's Interpretation of Pasta Primavera!

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