Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Delicious pasta and vegetables

So after a month of not cooking, I am back in my kitchen and thus back at the blog. For the past four weeks I was in Germany, and did not have simple access to a kitchen so not only was there a lack of cooking, but also a huge over-indulgence of gelato! Now it is time to be disciplined and return to a healthy diet, because it is good for you and because that way there is much less guilt when the weekend calls for a bit of a splurge (as it will this weekend, so watch this space).

With all of this in mind, tonight's meal consists of a lot of delicious vegetables! Not only do that add lots of pretty bright colours but they are of course amazingly good for you and everybody should eat more of them! For one thing, all those anti-oxidants are going to help prevent cancer, which seems to be caused by everything these days so we need that extra protection. Then there are all the vitamins and minerals, for instance courgettes and spinach are high in folate which is neccessary to keep our cells dividing properly. And everything seems to be full of beta-carotene, which we then turn into vitamin A and therefore remain able to see. Though it turns out carrots will not make you see in the dark, that was a rumour spread during one of the world wars to explain the ability of one side to shoot down planes so well at night - really it was radar but the myth continues. Anyway, here are the lovely colours that I added to my meal tonight, and below that you can see what it is I made with them:


Chunky Courgette with Wholegrain Pasta

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 red onion, diced
2 courgettes, cut into large-ish chunks
2 carrots, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon of both dried basil and oregano
2 cans of chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato puree
several handfuls of baby spinach leaves (this bit is optional, I just had them in the fridge, they weren't part of the original plan)
salt and pepper to taste
wholegrain fusilli (or whatever pasta pleases you, spaghetti would be good I think)

First, heat the oil and cook the onions until they are translucent. Then continue cooking them for about 10 minutes until they start to smell really good.

Now add the balsamic vinegar and the courgette, carrot and bell pepper. Turn down the heat and cook until the courgette is tender.
 
Finally, add the tomatoes, puree and herbs. Rip the spinach leaves up a bit and throw them on as well. Give it a stir until everything is good and tomoto-ey. Simmer until thick, maybe 20 minutes or so. Season with salt and pepper.

In the meantime, get your pot of salted water boiling, add some oil to it if you like. Once your water is boiling of course you add your pasta and cook it for just 10 minutes, until it is perfect, not until it is mushy. I don't care how much people might like it, mushy pasta is not good pasta. It is bad pasta. It should never be purposefully cooked that way. But I think I have been over this once before so I will stop ranting and get on with dinner. Basically, you are finished!

Serve your thick chunky vegetables over your healthy wholegrain pasta (or not so healthy white pasta, really it tastes no different I am just on a health binge for a wee while) and if you like serve it with a side of salad, or some sort of yummy bread, or meat if you like, and perhaps sprinkle some parmesan over the top. I must say though, I really am no good at photographing food, my pictures never do it justice. So you should just believe me instead when I say it was delicious.


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