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.
- 1/2 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 1/2 to 1 cup of the pasta water.
- 1/4 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
- 1/3 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 1/2 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 1/3 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 1/2 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.