Saturday, June 19, 2010

True Life: My First Good Experience with Pasta Primavera


Pasta Primavera is kind of a bad idea -- it's one of those foods with an unnecessarily fancy name based on a vague idea that was probably invented by somebody who wanted to use up leftovers.

I know jack squat about the history, theory, or cultural significance of this finicky dish. All I know is from what I've eaten at my school's cafeteria and read in vegan cookbooks from the 60's, and that wasn't enough to give me any sort of confidence in the dish.

But, like that poor imagined sucker who invented PP by necessity, Mary and I reached a point where we had not a lot of ideas, not a lot of money, and access to some decent produce and pasta. (Curse, you, the letter P! You make everything sound silly with your excessive alliteration and unnecessary lip-pursing!)

So we decided to try out Pasta Primavera. Our first attempt, which I will not discuss, was kind of lame.

But after two weeks, we decided to give it another go (I forget why exactly we made this choice; it's not important). And it turned out pretty durn good. Here's what we did:

A. We sauteed half a head of garlic and a spoonful of minced garlic in canola oil (of course).
B. We added about two carrots, cut in slices, and sauteed them for a few minues.
C. We threw in about two squash, sliced and then cut into little half- and quarter-moons, and sauteed them for a few minutes.
D. Somewhere in there, we added about 1/3 a can of pinto beans and a decent amount of salt and pepper.

All the while, we cooked some spaghetti.

After the spaghetti was done and the vegetables were finished sauteeing, we put the spaghetti on our plates and dumped the veggies over it. Then I added a copious amount of parmesan cheese (important!).

This dish was kind of a bummer for Mary because she doesn't like pinto beans or squash. But I think both of them are awesome, so I really liked it.

I think the key to pasta primavera is making it be about more than pasta and leftover vegetables. The beans helped a ton by making it feel like an actual meal, instead of like something two incompetent college students threw together to fend off starvation.

Also, putting the veggies on top (instead of stirring them into) the pasta was nice. Not sure why, but it was.

When I do this again, I will probably try it with spinach, red peppers, maybe some zucchini, and maybe some black olives.

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