Saturday, June 7, 2008

Vegetable pasta, two ways

Looking over my posts, two things are pretty obvious. One, I eat 90 percent of my food out of bowls. And two, I like cooking techniques that let me throw things together without fussing too much about recipes and measuring. In honor of both of these things, I present you two vegetable pasta dishes that look and taste pretty different, but are prepared using the same method. And in a bowl.

Corn-Tomato Pasta

Green Beans and Caramelized Red Onions with Spaghetti

So here's the loose method.

Step 1. Boil pasta. You know how to boil pasta right? (Did I ever tell you about the time I tried to teach a roommate how to boil pasta?)

Step 2. In a frying pan, heat enough oil to coat the pan. I usually swig my bottle of oil around the pan twice. If you're a measure-er, this is probably about 2 tablespoons. If you're using onions or garlic, add those to the pan first. You want to give them enough time in the pan to mellow out so you don't get that sharp taste from either of them. When it's time to add your corn or green beans, turn the heat up. You want the outside of these vegetables to get crispy, even a little blackened. It adds flavor. You can test whether the vegetables are done by poking them. I suggest using a fork to poke. Fingers are too easily burned. The vegetable should give a little, but not too much. You can also try biting into a vegetable, but remember they're hot.

Step 3. Add the tomatoes to the saute pan last, if you're using any. They're going to release a lot of liquid, and this means that your other vegetables won't be frying so much as steaming. Cook the tomatoes until they start to fall apart. Depending on how small you chop them, this can take anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes. The juices from your tomatoes will mix in with the oil and create an orange-colored sauce. This is a good thing.

Step 4. Add the drained pasta to the vegetables and mix everything together well. You might want to add some olive oil for more flavor. You definitely want to add salt. Serve in a bowl.

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