Roasted Pasta Primavera with lots of veggies

My refrigerator is usually overflowing with vegetables. When I bring home my farmers market bounties, I’ll get into fights with the tupperware and bottles of hard cider while trying to make room for everything. I tend to use up everything throughout the week, but since I still haven’t mastered cooking for one over the past year, I often have odds and ends of veggies hiding in the back of the fridge.

The other night, I adapted this Pasta Primavera from Giada de Laurentiis. (I still hope one day we can be best friends.) The recipe was simple: roast assorted vegetables with herbs and oil, add to pasta, top with Parmesan cheese. Since my veggie selection didn’t match with the ingredient list, I just used what I had: a squash, zucchini, portabella mushroom, spring onion, a sad half of one carrot, red pepper and two Roma tomatoes hiding in the back of the freezer. The great thing about a recipe like this is that it’s a template — you could really use whatever you have on hand by following the same techniques. I also added a splash of balsamic vinegar, because really, it makes most things better. For leftovers, I topped a bowl of the pasta with a spoonful of roasted garlic goat cheese from the farmers market, which melted into a creamy sauce.

Roast any veggies you have on hand to make Giada’s Pasta Primavera.

Pasta Primavera
Adapted from Giada de Laurentiis

  • 3 carrots, peeled and cut into thin strips
  • 2 medium zucchini or 1 large zucchini, cut into thin strips
  • 2 yellow squash, cut into thin strips
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried Italian herbs or herbes de Provence
  • 1 pound farfalle (bowtie pasta)
  • 15 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

On a large heavy baking sheet, toss all of the vegetables (Follow these guidelines or use whatever you have in the fridge! Just keep a good ratio of veggies to pasta.) with the oil, salt, pepper, and dried herbs to coat. Transfer half of the vegetable mixture to another heavy large baking sheet and arrange evenly over the baking sheets. Bake until the carrots are tender and the vegetables begin to brown, stirring after the first 10 minutes, about 20 minutes total.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente, tender but still firm to the bite, about 8 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid.

Toss the pasta with the vegetable mixtures in a large bowl to combine. Toss with the cherry tomatoes and enough reserved cooking liquid to moisten. Season the pasta with salt and pepper, to taste. Sprinkle with the Parmesan and serve immediately.

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Portobello Sandwiches with Asiago and Roasted Red Peppers

Not all veggie sandwiches are created equal. Personally, I’m not satisfied with cheese topped with cucumbers, white tomatoes and dingy lettuce on a sandwich roll. If I’m going to have a vegetable sandwich, I want it done right.

This recipe I found on Pinterest fit the bill. I had planned to make it for friends at a potluck at my house, but being in the newspaper business, of course things came up for all of us on the appointed night. The club size packs of red peppers and portabellas sat sadly in the fridge. Prepping all the ingredients ahead of time, the filling sandwich became my simple go-to meal for the entire week, served with a side of fruit–including some delicious apricots I picked up at the local farmers market last weekend.

I also received some microgreens from Glenburnie Farms in Spotsylvania County, which I mixed with the balsamic reduction and placed in the sandwich.

Serving the sandwich this way (or possibly with some lettuce) added a level of fresh bite to accompany the sweetened, roasted mushroom and peppers.

Portobello Sandwiches with Asiago and Roasted Red Peppers
adapted from How Sweet It Is

  • large portobello mushrooms
  • olive oil
  • salt, pepper (optional: paprika, onion powder)
  • asiago cheese
  • multigrain English muffins
  • roasted red peppers (check out how I made them)
  • microgreens or other mixed greens
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

To make balsamic glaze: Place vinegar in a small pot, bring to a boil, and cook on a very low simmer for 10-15 minutes. The vinegar should reduce by half and be slightly thicker. Let cool.

Place the mushrooms on a foil-lined cookie sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, a pinch of salt and pepper, and herbs, if desired. Roast the mushrooms in a 375 degree oven, about 5 minutes on each side, til soft and juicy. Alternatively, broil each side. (The original blog called to cook the mushrooms in a large skillet over medium heat. Anything would work to cook them!)

Toast the English muffin topped with asiago slices on one half. Mix greens with a small amount of the reduced balsamic glaze.

Assemble sandwiches with one mushroom, slices of roasted red pepper, and mixed greens. Enjoy!

Happy Mother’s Day!

Age two and a half – December 1991

That’s me, being entirely too cute. I started out in the kitchen way before I could read a recipe or reach a counter. I’d stand on a chair pulled up to our island counter, stirring a bowl of flour with water when my mom was following a real recipe.

I look just about the same now (though with some clothes!), with the same floury mess and huge smile in the kitchen.

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TWD: Hungarian Shortbread

The claim on this week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe, Hungarian shortbread, was: “These bars deliver a full measure of shortbread goodness with no fuss and no mess.” The description says that you won’t have a problem with this recipe. Tell that to my wrist. (It still hurts 24 hours after making these cookies!)

And I guess I didn’t really have a problem. But if you’ve ever had to grate two giant balls of frozen dough while trying to figure out how to comfortably grip a metal box grater, then you know how I feel.Or maybe you don’t, because that’s not something you have to do everyday. Though, if you’re my mom, you get to use the shredder attachment on your Cuisinart food processor. Oh, to be a real adult with a real home and real kitchen equipment.

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A spring farmers’ market dinner

Finally, it’s spring. Summer was trying to sneak in for a few days, and my baby lettuce plants didn’t like it. My basil didn’t fare well with the cold snaps either. I’m hoping that my container garden will survive my not-quite-green thumb over the next few months, but if my plants don’t make it, at least the Fredericksburg farmers’ market is a 10-minute walk away.

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Mini chocolate strawberry tarts with cream cheese filling

So I don’t know why I got this idea in my head tonight, but I wanted to make chocolate strawberry tartlets with a cream filling. Maybe it was because I recently purchased 4″ tart pans to make the super rich and decadent Chocolate Truffle Tartlets. Or because I had strawberries and cream cheese in my fridge. Or because it was thuderstorming so I couldn’t go running, so obviously the next best solution for what to do after work was bake and drink wine.

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