Saturday, February 10, 2007

Tonight's Dinner: Pasta Primavera

Okay, I am pretty pleased with myself. This turned out great; but then again I just love pasta primavera so take my raving with a grain of salt.

The stuff on the pasta is actually more of a pesto than a primavera sauce -- in fact, I used a vegan pesto base (Nutrimax brand -- it's available in health food stores in Canada -- I found an online shop that carries it here). If you can't find a vegan pesto, try a mix of dried parsley, basil, garlic powder and Italian seasoning. To the pesto, I added about 2 teaspoons of powdered vegetable buillon and about the same amount of water, and mixed until the buillon was dissolved. Then I added about a tablespoon of olive oil and set it aside so the flavours could blend a bit. I should mention that it should be a paste-y consistency -- in the past when I've tried to make primavera I've made the mistake of making the sauce (or whatever you call it) too liquid-y; if it's like that it won't stick to the pasta or the veggies.

Next, I heated the water for the pasta. While that was going, I chopped up the veggies. You can use what you like, but here's what I used:

• 1/2 of a large carrot, chopped
• about 4 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
• 1 head broccoli, cut into florets
• 1/2 of a medium zucchini, chopped
• 1/4 of a small green pepper, chopped into strips
• 1/4 of a small red pepper, chopped into strips
• 4-5 brown mushrooms, chopped

I stir-fried the veggies in a couple of teaspoons of olive oil, and by the time those were going the water was boiling. I poured in the pasta (I used whole wheat spaghettini) and finished stir-frying the veggies.

The pasta didn't take long to cook, and when it and the veggies were done I tossed everything -- the pasta, the veggies, and the pesto -- into a big bowl and stirred it up well. It was looking a little dry so I added just a little shake of olive oil, stirred it up again, and it was ready to go.

We had it with homemade (well, in the bread machine) whole wheat bread, on which we spread margarine that I had mixed with a little minced garlic.

This did not take long to cook at all -- the vegetable chopping was the hardest part, and it's always faster than I think it will be. Honestly, I don't know why I don't make this more often, it was easy and delicious.


Anskov said...

One thing I have discovered in Japan is that it is difficult for vegetarians and vegans to get by unless they do all their cooking on their own - many of the bases of the cuisine is made up of fish stock or some sort of meat. I did find out about one recipe you might like:

Boiled daikon radish. you cut the radish into hockey puck sizes being sure to remove the outer 1/4th inch (as it is too tough). Then you cook it in water with a handful of rice - the starch somehow helps it cook better - until tender in the center. The best part is the sauce. You heat a little water with some mirin (sweet rice wine for cooking - almost like a thinned out corn syrup), and a couple of tablespoons of light miso. You stir it in a saucepan until it is thick and smooth. Then add green citron zest (citron is called yuzu in Japan and should be available at Asian stores), at the last. Serve the daikon on a plate or in a small bowl with the yuzu-miso poured over it. it's really tasty. You may be able to find a real recipe online somewhere. I hope you try it - good luck!

the everyday vegan said...

This is great -- I noticed that one of our grocery stores here carries daikon, and I've been looking for an excuse to try it. Thanks Matt!