|My Take on 1 Pan Pasta Primavera|
So today was Totally New Tuesday (hmm maybe I'll make this a weekly thing)! I had a "green smoothie" for breakfast (see blog post before this one), a turkey/provolone/pear/balsamic lettuce wrap for lunch, and I just got done with my take on pasta primavera for dinner. This blog post could not wait. Not only did I absolutely LOVE dinner, I realized that I finally had a pretty complete answer to the question my friends always pose to me: "How do you know how to make all this stuff?" But first, let's talk about the primavera.
Having already made two new concoctions today and having spent lots of money last night at the grocery store, it was time to check out the fridge. I decided that for dinner I had to try to use up as many fresh ingredients as possible, namely the ones that may go bad over the next few days since my meals are pretty much already planned out.
I poked around a bit and instantly tons of thoughts started going through my head: ricotta, mozzarella, pasta; pasta, spinach, tomato; spinach, feta, tomato, olives. Then I saw it: the zucchini. My mom had given me a small package of baby zucchini and a package of baby corns (think Chinese food) and I had yet to use them. I reached for the zucchini, grabbed the baby corns, took a handful of baby carrots and put them on the counter.
Hmm. The baby corns made it a little difficult since they don't really go with... that's when I remembered the bag of pre-cooked whole wheat penne. I pulled it out. Although corn and pasta means double starch, I decided I could just use less pasta. Pasta Primavera is one of my restaurant favorites.
But wait, I've never made it before. Nor have I seen it being made. Or heard how it's made. Or read a recipe on how to make it. Well, what do I remember? That's when it came to me: one of the ways that I know how to cook, or at least how to mix ingredients, has to do with my approach to food and my keen sense of observation.
I eat food slowly (most of the time) and thoughtfully (usually). I like to savor each bite and think about the flavors. Not to a degree where it's noticeable; I don't sit and contemplate the meaning of every bite, or what every single spice or seasoning could be. I just like to enjoy food rather than rush through it. It's an experience :). Observing how things look/taste/smell when I prepare them compared to the way that prepared food in restaurants look/taste/smell allows me to draw conclusions on how to achieve desired outcomes in the kitchen. This is how I know what flavors tend to go well together.
Then I noticed the pork tenderloin in the fridge. Hmm.. I should freeze that. So I called my mom, just to double-check whether or not I could throw it in the freezer the way the store packaged it or whether I should toss it in to a freezer bag. THIS is the other way I know how to cook: my mom. I know I am biased, but I love the way she cooks. And although our diets consist of almost completely different ingredients, I learned all of the basics from her. I've always watched my mom, two of my grandmothers and my aunt in the kitchen, but being around my mom the most, I learned the most from her. To this day I still call her every now and then to ask a question about time, temperature, etc.
|Veggies before the peppers were added.|
I toss them occasionally with tongs, then it hits me (again): the third way I know how to cook is my own research on the subject, mostly via the wonderful world wide web. I take the 3 steps out of my kitchen and in to my office/dining room and type "Pasta Primavera" in to Google. Thousands of search results come up, but I click on Giada De Laurentiis' recipe, having seen her show a few times on The Food Network and trusting that it's probably great yet simple. I was right.
|Now I've added the pasta.|
I plate half of it and put the other half in to a tupperware container for tomorrow. I sit down on my couch and take a bite, thinking it will be good. WRONG: it was FABULOUS! I think that the word fabulous has a little bit of a joke-type connotation, but it works here. It was absolutely delicious. My thoughts went to a few people I know who I think would love it and how I can't wait to make it for them. I actually impressed myself.
|And now the cheese and seasonings!|
Because I know you don't need my inner monologue when making this for yourself, here's the recipe in short form:
You will need:
- Pasta, whatever kind you'd like (I used whole wheat penne)
- Baby corns
- Red bell pepper
- Carrots (baby or regular, peeled and cut)
- Olive oil
- Parmesan cheese
- Garlic powder
- Pepper (I used fresh cracked black pepper)
- Salt (I used fresh cracked sea salt)
- My pasta was pre-cooked, so you'll want to start by making the pasta, draining and setting aside.
- In a grill pan (any pan will work) put about 1 tablespoon of olive oil and heat on medium. (Don't let the oil get too hot throughout this process since you don't want to fry the ingredients)
- Cut zucchini, carrots, corn and pepper in to pieces - any shape and size you desire. Add to the pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss with tongs until tender.
- Add pasta and about 2 tablespoons of olive oil and toss with tongs.
- Add garlic powder, italian seasoning, parmesan cheese and salt and pepper.
- Toss with tongs until coated evenly. Add more oil if it's too sticky and not mixing.