Friday, November 11, 2011

Recipe - Vegetarian Penne Pasta!

It's fast, yummy, and I promise you won't miss the meat!  I often will go through my refrigerator and throw in stuff I need to use up such as any left over greens, mushrooms, peppers.  This is one of those recipes that you can't really mess up and you can add or substitute whatever you have on hand.  Use any kind of pasta you have for this recipe, it does not have to be penne. 

1 med onion (any kind), diced
3 cloves of garlic, diced
1 Lg can (or 2 small cans) of diced tomatoes in juice
1 red bell pepper, diced (optional)
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp oregano
1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 tbs red wine vinegar
Salt & pepper
Olive oil
Parmesan cheese
Fresh basil (optional)
2 cups of spinach or other leafy greens, (optional)
Pasta (any kind)
Get a pan of SALTED water ready to boil your pasta in.  I like to start this first and get the water nice and hot so it's ready when I need it to be.  

Heat about 1-2 tbs of olive oil in a large pan.  Add the diced onion and red pepper (if using) and saute for two minutes.  Add the diced garlic and saute for one more minute until fragrant.  Add your tomatoes with the juice, 1 tbs red wine vinegar, 1 tsp each dried basil/oregano/salt and 1/2 tsp of pepper.  Stir well.  Let simmer for about 15 minutes or until onions are soft.  Add garbanzo beans to red sauce.  Taste and season with more salt and pepper if needed.  Now, throw pasta in boiling water and cook until done.  Meanwhile, simmer sauce on low until the pasta is cooked. 
When pasta is fully cooked, reserve a 1/2 cup of pasta water.  Add drained pasta directly to your sauce mixture (do not rinse).   Coat your pasta evenly in the sauce mixture by stirring it gently a couple of times.  If using a spaghetti type pasta I find that using tongs, really helps get it all evenly coated and the pasta less tangled.  If your sauce looks too thick or it's not coating evenly, add a little of your reserved pasta water until sauce coats everything to your liking.  If you are using any greens throw them in your hot pasta towards the end so the heat from the pasta cooks the leaves and they don't get overcooked.   Give pasta one last good stir, plate the pasta and top with grated Parmesan cheese and fresh basil if using.  Some warm bread would go fabulous with this as well. 

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