Saturday, November 20, 2010

Portable Pasta

In just under a quarter of an hour*,
Take something made of water and some flour
And use your magic chef's skills to create
A filling meal -- just boil, stir, devour.
*I fear, my friend, that this might come across
As blasphemous, or maybe as a loss--
But when I was a kid, I never ate
A single pasta dish that needed sauce.
A lot of people scoff at the idea of jarred pasta sauce.  I scoff at the idea of pasta sauce in general.  This is not to say that I don't love pasta with sauce...I do.  I just don't think every pasta dish requires it.  It's a byproduct of my childhood -- my mom seldom made pasta, and when she did, we always had it plain, with only butter and salt for flavoring.


That's a little too plain for most people's tastes, but the two quick pasta dishes I bring you this week shouldn't be.  They're intriguing and cohesive in flavor, pretty to look at, and conveniently sauceless.  And, as is the case with everything I'm posting this month, they can be enjoyed both hot and cold.


Sauceless Pasta #1

Ingredients
  • 2 cups whole wheat noodles
  • 2 cups frozen French green beans
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • crushed black pepper, to taste

Directions

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil, then add the noodles, green beans, and salt and wait until cooked (about 7-8 minutes).  While waiting, throw the almonds in a pan and toast on the stovetop for about a minute.

Strain the noodles and beans, combine in a bowl with the almonds and juice from the lemon, and sprinkle with pepper and lemon zest.  Serves 1-2.



Sauceless Pasta #2

Ingredients
  • 2 cups whole grain rotini
  • 4 cups frozen chopped spinach
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt

Directions

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil, then add the rotini, spinach, and salt and wait until cooked (about 8-9 minutes).


While waiting, heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a pan over medium heat.  Saute the garlic until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Add the cherry tomatoes and stir.


Strain the rotini and spinach, and combine in a bowl with the garlic, tomatoes, and remaining tbsp olive oil.  Serves 1-2.

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