Weeknight Pasta

It’s uncertain if this actually qualifies as a recipe, it’s more of a dish I throw together on weeknights when fresh-cooked is in but time’s running out.  Two pots, a few ingredients (usually whatever’s on hand in the vegetable crisper) and voilà – supper.  It’s simple fare with simple flavours but I never tire of them.

Yield: 2 small or 1 large serving

What you need:

  • 1 cup sliced carrots (or parsnip, or salsify)
  • 1 cup sliced leek (or onion)
  • 1 small sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup cooked beans (something big like kidney, cannellini or lima works well – and if you’re lucky enough to have Heirloom beans like Scarlet runner or Nicteaux, this is the place to use them)
  • 1 cup dry rotini, penne or fusilli pasta (whole kamut, whole spelt or 100% buckwheat are my usual go-tos, but anything goes)
  • 1 cup finely sliced basil, coriander or parsley (or a mix of all three)
  • the juice of 1/2 a lemon or lime
  • salt and pepper to taste (herb salt is particularly recommended here)
  • 4 tsp flax oil

What you do:

  1. Bring a large saucepan full of water to a rolling boil.
  2. While the water heats, chop the vegetables and place them all in a small or medium saucepan.
  3. Once the water is boiling, pour a bit off into the pot of vegetables (about an inch in the bottom), turn the heat under the veggies to medium, and cover to steam them.
  4. Add the pasta to the remaining water in the large saucepan and cook according to package directions, usually 9-11 minutes depending on the type of pasta.
  5. Both the veggies and pasta should be ready pretty much at the same time, the veggies perhaps a minute or two before.  If the beans are cold in the fridge, you can add them to the pasta in the last couple of minutes to warm them.
  6. Drain the cooking water from the vegetables (which is now stock) and reserve as a warming drink or to add to soups.  Drain the pasta (and beans if reheating).  Mix together in the larger of the two pots (adding the beans if they don’t need reheating).  Add the lemon or lime juice and fresh herbs and toss to coat.  Salt and pepper to taste.
  7. When serving, drizzle 2 tsp of flax oil over each plate.

Variations:

  • replace the carrot and sweet potato by 4 cups of brocoli florets and use cooked chickpeas as the bean;
  • use olive oil in place of the flax oil;
  • add some sautéed spinach or kale to the mix.

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