18 July 2014

Pasta Della California

I am sorry for my absence, dear blog readers. After my May Term ended, I had about a week to finalize grades (and sleep!) before Shana and I embarked on our summer travels. Since we both teach, we've got 5-6 weeks in the summer when we are both free of scheduled commitments and head off to visit family and friends in various parts of the country. It's a lot of driving, but the laughter and hugs and good memories more than make up for the long drives.

Because we've been traveling, we've been relying on staple recipes (e.g., grilled foil packets, risotto, etc.), convenience items like store-bought vegan burgers/hot-dogs, or restaurants. We're now back from our travels. Shana's school starts up in about two weeks. I've got about a month, but in about two weeks I'm heading off on a trip with some other faculty members. While I'm home, however, I plan to cook up a storm! I've got a couple of few other posts in the works, but I'd really like to focus on some great warm-weather recipes. The recipe below is a great warm-weather recipe. It's not too heavy and it includes a great blend of textures and flavors.

Pasta Della California
This recipe is lightly adapted from Veganomicon (recipe of the same name), p. 192).

1/2 pound whole wheat pasta
1 large head broccoli, in florets
2 T. olive oil (extra light for me)
8 cloves garlic
1/4 tsp. grated lime zest
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/4 c. dry white wine
1 c. veggie broth
2 T. lime juice
1/2 tsp salt
pepper to taste
4 c. loosely packed baby spinach
2 avocados, in 1 inch chunks

1. Cook the pasta according to package instructions in a large pot.
2. After adding the pasta, use a large non-stick skillet to saute the garlic, lime zest, and red pepper flakes in the olive oil over medium heat for about two minutes. Be careful about burning the garlic!
3. Add the wine and turn up the heat to bring to a boil. Reduce for about 2 minutes.
4. Add the broth, lime juice, salt, and pepper, return to a boil and then simmer.
5. In the last minute or two of cooking the pasta, add the broccoli to the large pot.
6. Add the spinach to the skillet and stir as it wilts.
7. Drain the pasta/broccoli and then add it to the skillet with everything else. Toss lightly to combine.
8. Add the avocado and turn off the heat, tossing gently to warm the avocado.

Helpful Hints
  • You can use any pasta you like, just keep the 1/2 pound amount the same. Here's another version we've done. I'm sure you could even use a gluten-free pasta to make this a gluten-free dinner. 
  • I know that warmed avocado sounds really odd, but it's good! Speaking of avocado, make sure that the ones you use are ripe, but not too soft. If they are too soft, they will just disintegrate as you are trying to toss them with everything else. 
  • Check the bottom of the pan for extra garlic - then put it on your dish!
  • The original recipe calls for arugula, not spinach, but I think any small leafy green would do.
  • As long as your veggie broth is soy-free, this dinner is soy-free. 
The post "Pasta Della California" first appeared on Maggie's LesVegan Kitchen.

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