Saturday, January 23, 2010

Pasta Quattro

Winter is when we eat the most pasta. Probably too much! But here are a few tasty dishes we enjoy again and again...

Pasta w/Squash & Sage
Mushrooms

mushrooms:
1 T. olive oil
1 T. margarine
8-10 medium mushrooms
2-3 garlic cloves, chopped
4-5 dried sage leaves,
crumbled
pinch of cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp lemon juice
1/4 kosher salt

squash sauce:
2 cups steamed squash
1/2 cup water or veg broth
1 T. olive oil
2 T. margarine
1/2 a bouillon cube
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. sugar

Pasta or ravioli of your
choice.

This is a delicious way to
use fresh or frozen squash.
Steamed butternut squash
is fantastic for this dish!

First, peel, cube & steam
the squash. Or use frozen
thawed squash.

Next, wash the mushrooms.
Slice fairly thin. Heat olive oil & margarine over medium heat. Add mushrooms. Stir occasionally. After about 2-3 minutes, add the garlic and sage. Cook for a few more minutes, stirring every 2 minutes or so, allowing enough space in between mushrooms for any liquid to evaporate. As mushrooms begin to brown and dry out, add cayenne pepper and lemon juice. You want the mushrooms brown, but not burned. Remove from heat and sprinkle with kosher salt. Set aside.

Start the pasta cooking while you prepare the squash sauce. Puree the squash in a food processor with 1/2 cup water or vegetable broth. You may add a bit more water if necessary to process. Heat olive oil & margarine over medium-low heat. Add the 1/2 bouillon cube and mash with fork and stir briskly to dissolve (do not allow to burn). Add squash puree. Stir. Add salt and sugar. Stir and heat through.

Drain pasta. Toss with a little margarine or olive oil. Pour squash sauce over pasta. Top with sage mushrooms.

Tomato Bac-un Pasta

1/2 box of pasta
1/2 package Smart Bacon
1 T. olive oil
1 T. margarine
2 cups chopped, peeled
tomatoes, drained
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper

Here is a super quick dinner fix.
While pasta is cooking, peel apart half a package of Lightlife Smart Bacon strips. Slice or tear into bite-sized pieces. Heat olive oil & margarine over medium-low heat. Add Smart Bacon. Cook 2-3 minutes, flipping over pieces until lightly browned and slightly crisp. Add tomatoes (canned diced tomatoes or whole peeled tomato work well here, and I save the liquid for soups). Add a sprinkle of salt and a touch of cayenne pepper. Stir and heat through. Toss with drained hot pasta.

Ratatouille Couscous

2 T. olive oil
1 eggplant, peeled, sliced
1 T. water
1/2 tsp. salt
1 zucchini or summer
squash, halved & sliced
1 onion, quartered &
sliced
8-10 mushrooms,
quartered
1 bell pepper, chopped
1/2 jar pasta sauce
1 box couscous (cooked according to directions)

This dish is pretty easy, but the vegetables do take a bit of time to cook properly.

Peel an eggplant, slice, and cut into strips. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large pot. Add eggplant and salt, stir, and cover. Halve and slice a zucchini. Add one tablespoon of water to eggplant, stir again, cover. Quarter and slice a medium yellow or white onion. Add zucchini & onion to pot, stir, cover. Quarter the mushrooms, add to pot, cover. Chop a bell pepper into bite-sized chunks. Add bell pepper and 1/2 a jar of your favourite (or homemade) pasta sauce, cover. Cook for 5 minutes, stir, cover. Check every few minutes until vegetables are tender.
Once everything is in the pot, cook couscous in a separate small covered pot (takes only 5 minutes). Fluff couscous. Serve couscous and ladle ratatouille sauce over the top.

Lemon Spinach Pasta

1/2 box pasta
1 tsp. salt
8 oz. frozen leaf spinach
2 T. margarine
2 T. lemon juice
2 T. capers, drained
plenty of fresh black
pepper

Another easy peasy pasta dish for when you're in a hurry or don't feel like doing much cooking...

Cook 1/2 a box of pasta with 1 teaspoon salt added to the cooking water.
3 minutes before pasta is done (we like our pasta well-cooked, usually 12-14 minutes for standard shaped dry pasta, so around 10 minutes) add frozen spinach to pot and return to a boil. Drain. Toss with margarine. Add lemon juice, capers, & black pepper. Toss. Top with extra black pepper.

1 comment:

sherimiya said...

Well, I don't know what Smart Bacon is, but I guess it is a healthy version! You pasta recipes all look very delicious and healthy! Good to have a stock of pasta recipes on hand since this is a versatile and handy dish that most everyone likes! Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipes :)