Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Vegetarian Pasta

I don't cook purely vegetarian meals, so when it came to my mother's (a vegetarian for 2 years now) birthday celebration meal at home a few weeks ago, I started scratching my head. I wasn't going to make the elaborate mock meat that is so commonly found in Chinese vegetarian cuisine. My brother suggested pasta primavera, but I found it sorta boring. Add to it that my father doesn't like cheese or cream, ingredients called for in most primavera recipes. I wanted an easy but tasty recipe. Then a light bulb went off in my head - combine my oven roasted tomato pasta with other vegetables you would find in a pasta primavera.

It was fairly simple. I popped in the tomatoes to roast in the oven, cooked the remaining vegetables in a pan in the meantime, and brought every thing together at the end. My brother was surprised at how tasty it came out. I liked the slight crunchiness that the carrots retained. My mother, being the hard to please woman that she is, noted that the dish was too sweet for her taste. Why would I temper with vegetables' inherent sweetness if mother earth made them that way? Every year, I swear to myself that I will never cook or bake for her again, and every year, I get suckered into it. Anyways, here's the recipe to what was in my head a success:

Vegetable Pasta with Oven Roasted Tomato
Serves 6

1 yellow squash
1 zucchini
1 red bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
2 medium carrots, peeled
1 medium onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt & pepper to taste
Oven Roasted Tomato

cooked spaghetti (very al dente), enough for 6 (about 1 1/2 package)
1/2 cup reserved pasta water
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Cut the squash, zucchini and bell peppers into
strips, about 3in in length and 1/2in in width. Cut the carrots into slightly thinner strips.

Start the Oven Roasted Tomato. In the meantime, heat up the olive oil in a 12in saute pan. Add the onions and saute until soft, about 5 minutes. Season with salt. Add garlic and saute until fragrant. Add carrots and saute about 5 minutes. Add the rest of the vegetables, oregano and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 10 minutes.

Add the Oven Roasted Tomato to the vegetables. Let them cook together for about 2-3 minutes, then add the spaghetti and reserved pasta water. Cook for 5-10 minutes, or until spaghetti is al dente. Add butter to finish the sauce and garnish with parsley.

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