This colorful dish was created with urgency as I was really hungry and wanted to eat something wholesome and delicious that would be ready to eat in minimal time. I was having one of those moments when I was about to grab anything in sight just to fill my belly.
A quick look in the refrigerator led me to some pre-sliced carrots from the previous day, and left over plain gemelli pasta. That was a good start. From there, I went to the pantry thinking I would grab a red onion. Instead I saw that the sweet potatoes were looking sad to the point of 'eat these soon or toss them out'. I don't like wasting food, so I grabbed the worst looking one from the bin. From here, I now had a theme of using orange vegetables, so I included an orange bell pepper from the fridge. I was in process of not only creating a quick vegetable pasta dish, but having fun doing it. Even the use of sumac to season the dish added another deep orange color as well as a wonderful note of citrus.
The dish could actually be created with any vegetables you have available. The key to quick cooking is to slice each of the vegetables thinly so that they sauté in a few minutes. I used carrots, sweet potato, orange bell pepper seasoned with sumac and thyme leaves. Thinly sliced purple cabbage, red onions, and purple Peruvian potatoes would be fun too. Another key to quick cooking is having some foods cooked ahead and stored in batches either in the refrigerator or freezer. I often have leftover plain pasta, cooked quinoa, and brown rice stored in plastic zip bags in the freezer ready for use. Using canned chickpeas and other beans are useful in adding protein and texture to a main course, also quick to complete the creation. Below is the recipe and process for the making a quick vegetable sauté with pasta.
Quick Vegetable Sauté with Pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium size carrots, peeled and sliced thinly
2 medium size sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced thinly
1 large orange bell pepper, seeded and sliced thinly
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
8 ounces cooked pasta such as gemelli or bowtie
1 teaspoon dried sumac
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme
3 tablespoons grated Pecorino Romano cheese
Additional olive oil for drizzling to finish the dish
Working with a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, add in the 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add in the sliced carrots and sweet potatoes, stirring to coat in oil. Sprinkle with half of the salt, stirring again to keep the vegetables moving and evenly cooking. Sauté the vegetables for about 3-5 minutes, then add in the sliced peppers, stirring to combine. Continue cooking until the vegetables are starting to be tender and mostly cooked through, about 5 minutes. Add in the cooked pasta, stirring to combine and to heat through. Sprinkle the contents with the remaining salt and sumac, stirring to combine. The vegetables should now be fully cooked and tender, but still hold their shape and not mushy. Turn off the heat, sprinkle with the fresh thyme. Transfer the vegetables and pasta to a serving bowl, sprinkling on the grated Pecorino cheese, finishing with a drizzle of olive oil. Serve and enjoy.
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