Green Pasta

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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)

Kosher salt

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.

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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.

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Add the garlic and 1/2 tsp. of dried basil. Cook for a minute or two, stirring often so the garlic doesn’t burn.

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Add the peas..

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Then the spinach. Cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes.

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The spinach/greens will wilt into the peas and onions. Remove from heat.

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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. 

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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.

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Plop a heaping spoonful of sour cream into the pasta, along with a nice pinch of kosher salt.

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Add in the soft greens.

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Then 1/4-1/2 c. pasta water…

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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.

And stir!

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Cheesy, green, delicious! 🙂

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Asparagus! Add that…

Anne Burrell always says brown food tastes good; I say green food tastes good! 🙂

Zippy Corn & Zucchini Salad

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My parents are off on a surprise trip to California, leaving me the benefactor of some fine vegetables. I scored big time: mixed greens, scallions, three ears of corn, four tomatoes, a hefty bag of green beans, and a lone zucchini. Since I’m all by my lonesome this eve it just made sense to eat the zucchini (and it was also on its last leg). Mom gave me a great recipe from Rachel Ray for inspiration.. or help.

1 tbs. olive oil

1 ear of corn

1 small zucchini

2 small tomatoes

1 scallion white

1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes

1/4 c. of fresh parsley, loosely packed

1 c. spring greens/arugula/spinach

1 tbs. butter

S&P

Parmesan

Optional: Squeeze of lemon and 1/2 tsp. zest

This recipe takes more time to prep than to cook. At least in my case, I’m a very slow, methodical chopper. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet while you prep, I set the heat to medium/high – your stove may not need to be as hot.

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Begin by slicing the kernels off the cob. Be careful here, watch your fingertips!

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Core the zucchini by slicing it in half lengthwise and cutting out the middle. It will look like a cute zucchini canoe. Cut each half into six rods and cube.

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I used two small tomatoes that I got from my mom, but you could use grape tomatoes and leave them whole. Core and dice the tomatoes. Slice the white of a scallion, save the green for another meal.

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Now we get cookin’! Add the corn to the skillet and sauté for 3 to 5 minutes, or until lightly browned.

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Add the zucchini, sliced scallion white, and red pepper flakes to the skillet. Season with kosher salt and a little pepper (beware of pepper here, the red pepper flakes already add a kick). Cook until softened, about 3 to 5 minutes.

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Add 1 tbs of unsalted butter to the mix, stirring it in. Rachel Ray says stir until its creamy, but I don’t think that is the proper adjective. There is no cream to this mixture IMO. I let the butter stew for a couple minutes before removing the skillet from the heat.

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Toss the salad with the diced tomatoes and a 1/4 cup of chopped parsley. Almost any herb will do here but I always have fresh parsley on hand, the same cannot be said for basil or tarragon. I added a nice squeeze of lemon juice and a little zest here.

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Pour over a small amount of greens, about 1 c., and top with shredded parmesan.

*I couldn’t help using my new wooden bowl for this meal!

The corn and zucchini are the stars here. In fact, skip the greens, grab a paddle, and just shovel the salad into your mouth.

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A perfect, healthy, irresistible meal for one. 🙂