Wednesday, June 15, 2011

start-the-week-out-right pasta.

i always look forward to cooking dinner on sunday. it's a nice way to both close out the prior week and prepare for the one to come. and given that my sundays often include lounging around, baking (!!), organizing, and not all too much physical activity, my stomach tends to crave something light and nutritious once evening rolls around.

i started making this dish some months ago when the weather turned warmer and the sun started to linger in the sky later and later. simply put, it's any fresh vegetables and herbs lying around paired with a short noodle and dressed lightly in some balsamic and a dash of oil. it's so easy to make and it leaves your belly in a satiated, wholesome state.
i'm a bit of a green freak, so my vegetables of choice almost always include one (or more realistically, all) of the following: spinach, asparagus, broccoli, leeks. however, i just made a variation of this dish this last sunday with cauliflower and a touch of cumin mixed it at the end, and it was far from disappointing.

secondly, while of course any pasta noodle will do, i choose a short one for this dish as you can eat it with just a fork. confession: i like one utensil dishes.

sunday (or any day!) noodles

300 g tricolor fusilli pasta (or any other short noodle)
1 leek, chopped
1 cup black or kalamata olives, halved
1 onion
3 cloves garlic
1 bunch asparagus, diced into 1 inch pieces
1 cup crimini mushrooms, diced
½ package basil tofu, chopped into ½ inch cubes
½ cup chives, ½ cup dill, ½ cup basil – all roughly chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

begin by heating a tablespoon of olive oil in a pan. finely chop your onion and garlic and add them to the hot oil first. lightly fry until the onion begins to turn translucent.

add the asparagus, mushrooms, and leek to the pan. give it all a toss, and cover to let steam. when vegetables are almost ready, add the tofu and olives and keep warm by turning off the heat and covering.
meanwhile, cook your pasta in a pot of boiling, salted water until al dente.

when everything is ready, transfer however much pasta you want to the pan of vegetables and toss in the herbs. turn the heat back on briefly to stir everything around and make it’s at serving temperature.

remove from heat and add around 1-2 tablespoons (each) of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, depending on how you like it. salt and pepper, and serve immediately.