Monday, May 18, 2015

Recipe: One Pot Pasta

This is one of the most beautiful posts we've done, because of the pictures.  They are gorgeous and no, we had nothing to do with it.  These gorgeous pictures and delicious recipe came from The View From Great Island.  We want to try this recipe with our own produce from the farmers market but, this made us so excited we just had to post it.  We hope that it makes your taste buds excited as well!

One Pot Farmer's Market Pasta
These one pot pastas are hot right now, and I’ve been curious ever since I saw this one on my friend Mary’s blog.  The deal is that everything cooks together in one pot in about 9 minutes, pasta and all, with no sauteing or draining.  About this time last year the first one pot pasta debuted in Martha Stewart Living, and the story is that her editors discovered the recipe in Italy.  It’s a neat idea, and it clearly has visual appeal, but I was still skeptical.  So since I couldn’t ask Martha herself, I did the next best thing; I called Mary, and asked her for the lowdown — did it really work?  Was it worth my time?  And when I got her enthusiastic thumbs up, I knew I had to give it a try.
The original recipe calls for red onions, cherry tomatoes, and basil.  My version is inspired by the colorful bounty of the early summer farmer’s market.  Every Sunday I buy way too much, and so the first night or two after a farmer’s market run is usually a mad dash to use as many vegetables as I can…this pasta is perfect for that.
One Pot Farmer's Market Pasta 3
The concept is simple — everything gets layered into a big pot, you add liquid, bring it to a boil, and let it  bubble away for several minutes until the pasta is al dente.  The veggies get cooked perfectly, most of the liquid gets absorbed, and what’s left melds together with the tomatoes to become a sauce.  All you have to do is add some grated hard cheese and  fresh green herbs to finish the dish.  I say ‘liquid’ because while most recipes use water, I used part wine for some extra flavor.  You could also use chicken stock.  The precise amount is the key, it’s just enough to cook the pasta and leave a little leftover for a sauce.
One Pot Farmer's Market Pasta  4
Pasta Primavera is one of my all time favorite pastas, but it can be a little time consuming to make — you usually have to saute the veggies in stages, create a sauce, and then cook the pasta separately.  It’s a lot of pots, stove time, and copious amounts of boiling water sloshing from stove to sink.  This method is fun to throw together, and sure saves a lot of work.
One Pot Farmer’s Market Pasta
Yield: serves 4-6
  • 12 oz spaghetti
  • 1 medium red onion, peeled, halved, and sliced
  • 1 small Japanese eggplant, halved lengthwise and sliced
  • several stalks asparagus, cut in 2 inch pieces
  • a handful of broccoli florets, cut in half
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 colorful bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic peeled and minced
  • 2 handfuls baby greens, I used baby kale and wild arugula
One Pot Farmer's Market Pasta 6
There are a few secrets for success.  One is, don’t skip the tomatoes.  The rest of the veggies remain intact, but the tomatoes break down and help to form a sauce with the starchy pasta water and the cheese.   Two, don’t skimp on the cheese, for the reason just mentioned.  Three, pay attention to flavoring the pot.  In addition to salt, I like lots of black pepper, red pepper flakes, and my secret flavor weapon, a dash of sherry vinegar.  And finally, don’t forget the fresh garnishes.  Reserve some little tomatoes and a big handful of fresh basil for topping the cooked pasta.
If you haven’t tried this idea yet, I recommend you give it a go.  The concept is one you can tinker with, and there are lots of different variations online.  Just search one pot pasta.

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