Sometimes the most satisfying meals are those slap-dash creations that turn out better than expected.
I don’t eat pasta all that often but tonight I wanted something filling and I knew I had a bunch of vegetables in the fridge that needed to be used up before they reached the end of their lives.
I’m not a fan of ready-made pasta sauces, preferring to just use tinned and fresh tomatoes, chilli and herbs as a sauce. So Pasta was home-made sauce and veg, it was going to be!
I put the pasta on first (it was whole-wheat that takes an age to cook) and started chopping up all the vegetables. When it was time to start on the sauce, I went to the pantry to get out the chopped tomatoes. I buy chopped tomatoes every second time I’m in a supermarket so I always, always have chopped tomatoes in the pantry. Except tonight.
Having got everything else ready, I had to commit to pasta so decided to just try and flavour it with a tonne of garlic, lots of chilli flakes and pepper and drizzle it with oil and hope for the best. It worked! It was amazing! A quick Google search determined that I was far from the first person to ever create a pasta ‘sauce’ of this kind but I was still impressed with how well it turned out.
So if you’re ever stuck with a bare pantry, try this out!
I didn’t measure anything as I just threw this together but below is a basic idea of the recipe (if you can can call it that)!
Chilli & Garlic Pasta
Any Pasta – I used organic whole-wheat penne
Any Veg – I used red onion, garlic (loads!), broccoli, courgette, cauliflower, red pepper, mushrooms and baby spinach
Freshly ground pepper
1. Prepare pasta as normal in large saucepan.
2. As pasta cooks, parboil relevant veg (in this case, broccoli, courgette and cauliflower) and set aside.
3. In medium saucepan, heat oil and fry onions and garlic until starting to brown. Add mushrooms and red pepper, chilli, pepper and tad more oil and fry, stirring continuously.
4. When pasta is almost done, add parboiled vegetables to frying saucepan and stir until heated through. You may like drizzle a little more olive oil to ensure all veg is coated.
5. When cooked, drain pasta then pour back into saucepan, top with veg and stir together over a low heat.
6. When combined, add baby spinach and stir through until the spinach wilts, then remove from heat and serve.
I ate mine with wholemeal garlic pita bread I made (the garlic-ness, not the pita itself). Just spread pita with margarine, garlic purée and/or fresh garlic, sprinkle with basil and then bake for 15 minutes. So garlicky and so delicious!
Note: Sorry about the terrible picture quality – the light in my kitchen was awful and I took the pictures quickly so I could go and eat!