Tag Archives: parmesan

Food Matters Project #35: Provencal Pasta Sauce

It’s another Monday installment of the Food Matters Project!  Last week we hosted the Rice & Lamb Burgers with Spinach & Tzatziki Sauce, a perfect recipe for the upcoming grilling season.  This week’s host is Nancy, of Funkytown Foodies.  She’s one of three friends that have a food blog together- they all document delicious, healthy and local recipes.

Nancy chose the Provencal Vegetables with Chicken in Packets recipe from Mark Bittman’s The Food Matters Cookbook.  Check out Nancy’s recipe- she made a few changes to the original.  Also, all other ideas from FMP participants can be found here.

Thanks to the weather, I took a completely different take on this recipe.  It’s the second Monday in a row that DC has been gloomy and rainy.  Why Monday?  It’s such a hard way to start the week.  Since it’s cold and blah out, I wanted something comforting and saucy.  And due to poor planning, I forgot to defrost the chicken…had various vegetables that needed to be eaten in our fridge.

So I began chopping up the vegetables, hoping an idea would just pop into my head.  It did, once all of the vegetables were chopped up and mixed together- why not make a sauce to put over some pasta?  Comforting, warm, and full of flavor…making me wish for spring even more!  We didn’t have any parsley in our fridge, but it might be a good garnish on top.  This really reminded me of Sam’s Summer Sauce, and now I can’t wait for farmers market tomatoes!

Provencal Pasta Sauce

Provencal Pasta Sauce
Inspired by: The Food Matters Cookbook (page 464)

1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium eggplant, chopped into 1-inch pieces
1 cup canned chopped tomatoes
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 large red onion, chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup black olives, halved
3/4 cup green olives, halved
1 zucchini, chopped
1 tbsp fresh thyme
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tbsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
4 cups of water
1/2 lb pasta (we used whole wheat spaghetti)
Parmesan or feta cheese (optional)

Pour the olive oil into a large pot, heat it up.  Once it’s hot add all of the chopped vegetables, the herbs, salt, pepper and water.  Stir well and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, bring down the temperature to low, simmer for at least 1 1/2 hours.

If you prefer chunkier sauce, then leave the sauce as is.  If you’d prefer a smoother sauce, then puree all of it.  If you’re like us, and you want it somewhere it the middle, puree about half of it in a blender or food processor.

Cook pasta per package instructions.  Drain, and divide between the plates.  Then spoon out the provencal sauce, sprinkle with parsley.  If you prefer, top it all off with some Parmesan or feta.

Eggplant & Broccolini Pasta Salad

I’m sure many of you having cravings for different foods.  About this time of the year, tomatoes tend to be in the top.  Definitely love fresh tomatoes (check out the latest tomato recipe), but right now I have also been craving eggplant.  And specifically- roasted eggplant- something about the crunchy outside, and soft inside.  Yum!

When I spotted this recipe in June’s Vegetarian Times, I had to make it.  It’s a great recipe that tastes delicious the day you make it, but this is a great cold pasta salad for some leftovers.  Most pasta salads do not have eggplant, so this is definitely a tasty difference.  It’s a little fancier than you regular pasta or pasta salad, but just as easy to make!  Great for those busy summer days!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Eggplant & Broccolini Pasta Salad
Inspired by: Vegetarian Times (June 2012)

1 lb pasta
2 medium eggplants, washed
2 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
8 oz broccolini, chopped
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1 onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded

Heat up a large pot with water, once it’s boiling add in the pasta.  Cook the past according to the directions on the package.

Preheat the oven to 425ºF.  Cut the eggplant into 1-inch pieces and spread it all onto a cookie sheet.  Add 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper and 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes.  Then using your hands, mix the seasoning with the eggplant.  Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the eggplant is slightly browned.

Once the eggplant is done baking, spread the broccolini on a cookie sheet (can be the same one).  Sprinkle it with 1/2 tbsp olive oil, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper and 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes.  Once again, using your hands (be careful if the cookie sheet is still hot) mix the ingredients together.  Bake the broccolini for 15 minutes at 425ºF.

When all of the ingredients are cooked and baked, toss them into a large bowl.  Then add in the grape tomatoes, regular tomatoes, onion, garlic cloves and 1 tbsp olive oil.  Stir all of the ingredients well.  Serve sprinkled with Parmesan cheese.

Food Matters Project #9: Vegetable & Bean Casserole

Another Monday, with another Food Matters Project recipe.  This recipe was chosen by Keely of Keely Marie.  The Mark Bittman recipe which she chose was: Cassoulet with Lots of Vegetables.  As always, you can find the original recipe in The Food Matters Cookbook.  Keely also has a giveaway for 4 traditional cassoulet bowls from Le Creuset- definitely worth checking out!

After Sam came home from India, one of the presents which I got was a cold, which has been with me for almost a week.  Therefore, yesterday we were just relaxing at home, not doing much.  At least part of the day was gloomy, so we didn’t feel too bad for just sitting on the couch.

Since we weren’t in a cooking mood (that doesn’t happen too often), we made this recipe simple and easy.  So no meat, lots of veggies and beans.  Also, a layer of bread crumbs and cheese always makes things even more delicious!

Vegetable & Bean Casserole
Adapted from: The Food Matters Cookbook (page 392)

I used a combination of navy beans and pinto- it’s what we had in our pantry.  But the options are endless- black beans, chickpeas or cannelini would be delicious.  Feel free to swap panko crumbs for the bread crumbs.  You can also top the casserole with a different cheese, or stir cheese into the dish (you might need more of it).  The original recipe didn’t call for baking this, so feel free to omit this step.  I just wanted a crispy and cheesy top, overall it’s very light, which is great for the spring weather everyone is having.

2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 large onion, chopped
5 garlic cloves, minced
2 leeks, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
2 zucchini, chopped
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
4 cups of beans (your choice)
3 tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Pour olive oil into a large pot, allow it to heat up a bit.  Then add in the onion, garlic, leeks, carrots, celery and zucchini.  Allow the vegetables to cook for about 10 minutes.  Then add in the salt, pepper and red pepper flakes.  Remember to stir the vegetable mixture.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.  Spray an oven-proof dish with non-stick spray.  In a large bowl, mix together the vegetable mixture, beans, tomatoes and parsley.  Then pour in the ingredients into the dish.

Sprinkle the top with the bread crumbs, and then with the Parmesan cheese.

Bake the casserole in the oven for 20 minutes.  Once it’s cooked, allow it cool off before serving.