Thursday, December 2, 2010

Simple pasta and steamed veggies

It's pretty impressive that this dish hasn't made it on here already. I chalk it up to the effect that this blog has had on our kitchen. I'm trying a lot of new things and cooking a lot of new recipes. And writing about it, of course.

This is a quick and simple dinner that we've been enjoying for years. It was something I threw together one night out of sheer hungriness and a need for FOOD. While it's very simple, it does require a steamer basket that nests into the top of your regular saucepan, and use the same lid. It's not hard to find a setup like this when you're shopping for pots and pans. And I recommend the combination to people precisely because of this recipe. It's a serious production time saver.

Step 1: Chop up some vegetables into bite-sized hunks and throw them in the steamer basket. For this recipe, I used 2 heads of broccoli, a bundle of asparagus, and an onion.

Step 2: Fill the pot 2/3 with water. Don't overfill, as the steamer does take up some space in the saucepan, and it will displace the water onto your stove. (Note paper towel on the stove)

Step 3: Put the steamer on top of the pot, and the lid on the steamer.

Step 4: Turn on the stove and heat up the water for pasta.

Step 5: Throw in the pasta, and cook.

Step 6: Take the stack to the sink, and dump the pasta on top of the veggies in the steamer to strain.

Step 7: Dump the steamer into the serving bowl.

Step 8: Drizzle olive oil over everything, and move the pasta around enough to let the oil keep it all from sticking together. Serve with Salt, Pepper, and maybe some Romano or Parmesan.

As the water heats up to boiling, it warms up the veggies, and they steam while the pasta's boiling. When the pasta's done, the veggies are done. No muss, no fuss.

It's really amazing what the simple combination of oil, salt, and pepper can do for steamed veggies. And the cheese is salty enough to chime in pleasantly. Years ago I used to mix in goat cheese and cream and other stuff. But I've been trying to eat better lately, and I have to say, in this case, simpler is really better.

There are other veggie combinations thatare worth trying, like:
-zucchini, chick peas, and shallots
-Broccoli, Cauliflower, and summer squash
-Red peppers, spinach, black beans, and apples
-Use your imagination. Vegetables are vegetables, and some mix better than others, but almost all are good.

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