Desi's accused me of cooking a lot of pasta recently because I'm hosting the It's A Vegan World: Italian event.
Between you and me, there is maybe-- just maybe-- some truth to that. But then again, why not eat all the pasta you can? Apparently Sophia Loren eats it every day, and just look at her! I can always dream, can't I?
I add vodka to this very light sauce because it gives the sauce a great depth of flavor. Besides, the alcohol all cooks off, so rest assured you aren't going to get tipsy after dinner.
Angel-hair pasta is best in this recipe, although regular spaghetti would be fine. The secret here is to add a ton of veggies. Use anything you have on hand. I used mushrooms, green beans and onions, but you could add bell peppers, eggplant, scallions (spring onions), even leafies like arugula, baby spinach or watercress.
I stir in some walnuts to give the pasta more crunch and texture. Pine nuts would work great too.
So here's my easy, weeknight pasta recipe. Try and use whole-wheat pasta to make sure your dish is as healthy as can be.
Angel-Hair Pasta with Green Beans and Mushrooms
- ½ pound whole-grain angel-hair pasta , cooked according to instructions in salted water.
- 1 cup of chopped green beans.
- Stop the cooking as soon as the pasta is al dente. Drain the pasta and beans and set aside. Reserve about ½ to 1 cup of the pasta water.
- ¼ cup of olive oil
- 1 medium onion , thinly sliced
- 4 cloves garlic , thinly sliced
- 6 sun-dried tomatoes , thinly sliced
- 1 tsp dried oregano or 2-3 tbsp of fresh oregano
- ⅓ cup of lightly toasted and coarsely chopped walnuts.
- Cook the pasta in salted water. In the last five minutes of cooking, add the green beans to the pot. Drain, and set aside with ½ to 1 cup of pasta cooking water.
- Saute, stirring frequently, until the onion softens and turns translucent.
- Heat the oil and add onion and garlic. Saute for five minutes until onions are translucent.
- Add 1 pound of sliced button or cremini mushrooms and ⅓ cup of vodka
- Saute the mushrooms until they start to caramelize and the liquid is mostly gone.
- Add the sundried tomatoes and oregano
- Add fresh-ground black pepper and salt to taste.
- Stir everything together, then add the pasta and beans. Add ½ cup of the pasta-boiling water.
- Toss together and continue cooking on very low heat another couple of minutes.
- Stir in the walnuts.
- Let the pasta stand another couple of minutes before serving.