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Vegetables and Pasta Siciliano

Posted on: August 16th, 2011

Face it, choosing a main meat is simple, it’s whipping up a delicious and healthy side dish that takes a little more thought and effort.  We need mealtime solutions, fast and easy cooking techniques that are both delicious and fill our family with lots of healthy vegetables.  This recipe does just that, and it’s very adaptable to the ingredients you have on hand – the family is sure to love it!

This simple side dish blends a medley of quick cooking vegetables with pasta in a tasty garlic olive oil in minutes, or make it even easier with one of our prepared pasta sauces like Tony’s Marinara or Vodka sauce.  Finished with grated parmesan cheese, it will be a hit with almost any grilled meat, especially our homemade Italian sausage from the grill or pan.

Any type of pasta or combination of veggies can work.  Try it with whole wheat spaghetti, or even chunky cuts like penne or rigatoni.  Simply cut the vegetables to a similar size and shape as the pasta (like long strands with spaghetti, or fingers with penne), and steam, boil or even saute until crisp/tender.

But Wait, There’s More!
Hang on to the end of the video for a simple slice tomato salad – it can be whipped together and served in minutes, or marinated hours in advance.  I think it’s particularly good with our Balsamic or Cabernet Sauvignon Vinaigrette.   Find a more complete recipe here>>  Buon Appetito!

Vegetable and Pasta Siciliano

3 pounds assorted quick cooking veggies*
1/2 pound spaghettini or spaghetti, broken in half
5 cloves garlic, sliced
1/4 cup olive oil
pinches of crushed red and cracked black pepper (optional)
grated Parmigiano Reggiano, pecorino or your favorite
** Variation: Tony’s prepared vodka or marinara sauce

Wash and prepare veggies* – cutting them into thin slivers about 2-3 inches long. Ideally they all should cook in the same amount of time – so harder veggies will have to be cooked a little longer.

Cook pasta to al dente according to package directions – pasta may take a little longer at our altitude.

Meanwhile, steam veggies to crisp tender – about 2-4 minutes depending on veggies and conditions. If you cook in advance, shock in ice water to chill.

Meanwhile, poach garlic slowly in olive oil at a low temperature until translucent – cool pan slightly.  Or warm prepared marinara or vodka sauce.

Toss prepared pasta and veggies in olive oil (or prepared sauce) with pinches of crushed red pepper and/or black pepper (if using), warming to heat veggies through. A splash of the pasta cooking water is a nice touch. Serve plenty of with grated Parmigiano Reggiano, grindings of pepper and pinches of salt (preferably flaky fleur de sel). Also great topped with fresh herbs.

* Chef’s Notes: Excellent candidates include asparagus, colorful peppers, hot peppers, summer squashes (centers removed), snap peas, onions, celery, cabbage, carrots, French cut and blanched green beans, broccoli or cauliflower stems and florets, or even greens such as Swiss chard or spinach.

** Variation: replace garlic and oil with Tony’s prepared Vodka or Marinara sauce – dee-lish!

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