Veggie Spaghetti

August 23, 2013

Veggie Spaghetti

This is one of my go-to weeknight meals, and it is a great way to use up any random vegetables you may have left over. Growing up, my mom always dressed up marinara in a jar by sauteing some onions and beef (along with some other spices and peppers and such on occasion) before adding the marinara. I changed that up a bit, decided to forgo the beef and just use every veggie I had on hand. Everything is fair play – carrots, squash, zucchini, spinach, broccoli, fresh tomatoes, kale, peppers – you name it, I’ve tossed it in my drug-through-the-garden spaghetti. The key is to always keep a few things on hand : garlic and/or onion, marinara sauce, and pasta.

To make the spaghetti sauce, start by chopping up whatever vegetables you are going to use. I usually roughly chop most vegetables, and I’ll cut large greens like kale into strips, removing the stems. Add about 2 teaspoons of olive oil in a high-sided skillet over medium heat (note, in the meantime you should get some water boiling for the pasta). Start by adding the onions to the oil, and peppers if using. As they begin to soften, add the garlic if using, and then just begin to add vegetables in the order of the time it takes them to cook. For example, I may start with my onions and peppers and let them go for 4 minutes or so, until they soften, then add the garlic for 30 seconds, then add carrots and cook for another 3 or 4 minutes, then broccoli for 3 or 4 minutes, and finally kale and fresh tomatoes for a minute or two until it’s time to add the marinara. Salt and pepper your vegetables occasionally, and you can even season with dried herbs along the way such as thyme and basil.

Add the marinara to the pot and turn up the heat slightly to get it to a bubbly simmer. My preferred store-bought marinara sauce is Michael’s of Brooklyn, but whatever you like will work perfectly. At this point you just need to let the sauce and the veggies have some time to warm up and let the flavors marry, so about 15 minutes of bubbly simmering. Towards the end of that time taste the sauce and see if it needs any adjustments – salt, sugar if there’s a sourness to the tomato flavor, pepper. Now is the perfect time to add any fresh herbs, such as basil or thyme or oregano, if you want to do so.

Don’t forget about the pasta! Once you get the sauce bubbling, add some salt to your pasta water and in goes the pasta – spaghetti, penne, corkscrews – a heavier pasta to stand up to the heavier sauce. Cook to al dente. Drain.

Now assemble. Pasta topped with a hearty helping of sauce and veggies. Add some parmesan if you’d like, or fresh basil strips, or both. It’s all up to you, what you have on hand, and what you like!

Gluten free alternative: Use a gluten-free pasta instead of regular pasta. Since this sauce doesn’t have to soak into the pasta, I find it works really well with gluten free pastas made from quinoa or brown rice, which don’t readily soak up sauces. Just don’t make pasta for leftovers. I’ve found the gluten free varieties get really gritty when rewarmed, so I would err on the side of making a fresh batch the next time around to use up all the sauce.

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Leave a Reply