This recipe has become a staple for me. A quick 30 minute meal that’s healthy and full of amazing texture and flavor. It can be adapted and changed by adding any veg of your choosing, but I love the combination of green vegetables in this version. The soft vegetables that I used are peas and spinach and the hard vegetables are broccoli and green beans. Other notable greens that would be delicious add-ins or exchanges are celery, zucchini, escarole or chard. Possible veggies of the non-green variety: carrots, cauliflower, bell peppers, corn, eggplant… am I boring yet?
Basically, grab whatever you have in your fridge. This recipe calls for anything and everything.
Also, this could probably take you less than 30 minutes. Whether it’s 20 or 30, you will be busy the whole time.
1 box of penne; or any pasta really
1/4-1/2 c. finely chopped onion; I used white, original recipe calls for yellow, I’m sure red would be good, too, whatevs. Also I didn’t even use onion the first time I made this, so if you don’t have it, no worries!
1-2 tbs. oil; again I’m sure any would do. I used the last of my olive oil and added vegetable oil as needed.
1-2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1/2 tsp. mediterranean basil; pick an herb, any herb
1-2 c. of soft green vegetables, peas and spinach (larger leaves torn)
1-2 c. of hard green vegetables, broccoli (cut into small florets) and green beans (chopped)
1 heaping tbs. sour cream
1/2-3/4 c. parmesan cheese, grated or micro-planed (not sure what that’s called)
1/2 tbs. dried basil OR 1 tbs. fresh basil; again, any herb will do.
Optional: lemon zest, crushed red pepper flakes, flat leafed parsley, scallions
Start by prepping all of your herb and veg. Chop up green beans, onion, herbs, broccoli, and garlic.
Heat up the oil in a skillet over medium/high heat, add onion and cook for 3 to 6 minutes. Looking for soft and translucent.
Add the garlic and 1/2 tsp. of dried basil. Cook for a minute or two, stirring often so the garlic doesn’t burn.
Add the peas..
Then the spinach. Cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes.
The spinach/greens will wilt into the peas and onions. Remove from heat.
Here’s where you control the speed of the recipe, you can start the water at the same time as the onions and multitask like a pro or wait. Boil water for the pasta, add a generous pinch of kosher salt and the pasta when it boils. After 3 minutes, add the hard vegetables to the pot. If you start the pasta at the beginning, don’t forget to add the vegetables.
Once the pasta is cooked to al-dente, no longer, save about 1 c. of pasta water and drain. Add the pasta back to the top and return to stove.
Plop a heaping spoonful of sour cream into the pasta, along with a nice pinch of kosher salt.
Add in the soft greens.
Then 1/4-1/2 c. pasta water…
And 1/2 c. of parmesan cheese.
Here you can add in more basil, fresh herbs, lemon zest, red pepper flakes, season it up! My green version uses more mediterranean basil and a pinch of red pepper flakes.
Cheesy, green, delicious! 🙂
Asparagus! Add that…
Anne Burrell always says brown food tastes good; I say green food tastes good! 🙂