Slightly Spicy Pasta Puttanesque-a

Posted by on June 9, 2009 | 12 Comments

Faced with a full pantry and a bare-bones fridge, I had to do some quick thinking for our next meal that we were quickly growing hungry for. Most chefs would mock my version of puttanesca (hence my clever name, don’t you think?), but I still couldn’t think of a better label for this blend of flavors.

True, it lacks the salty anchovies (making it suitable for vegans / vegetarians), and I did allow some leeway on the olives you can use (pitted kalamata olives would be best, but when you only have cheap black ones on hand they will just have to do!), but this is still a nice, flavorful dish that can be dressed up or down, however you like.

Pasta Puttanesque-a

Slightly Spicy Pasta Puttanesque-a
This recipe is Dairy-Free, Nut-Free, Soy-Free, Sugar-Free, Low-Fat, optionally Gluten-Free / Wheat-Free, and optionally Vegan / Vegetarian

  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 2 Teaspoons Crushed Garlic or 4 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 1 28-ounce Can Diced Tomatoes (no salt added) or 2 lbs of Tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Dried Basil
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes (more if you like)
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Onion Powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt, more or less to taste
  • Fresh Ground Black Pepper to taste (optional)
  • 1 Cup Olives, quartered (kalamata and/or green would be best, but my cheapo pantry version just used the black ones I had in the cupboard, and it was still tasty!)
  • 3 Tablespoons Capers, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 Cup Dry White Wine (2-Buck Chuck will do)
  • 8 oz Pasta (I used whole wheat penne, but go gluten-free if needed)

Heat the oil in a medium-sized saucepan over medium-heat. Add the garlic, and saute for just a minute or two. Add the tomatoes, basil, oregano, crushed red pepper, onion powder, salt, and pepper (if using). Bring the sauce to a boil, promptly reduce the heat and allow it to simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. While that is simmering, you can prepare any other additions (see notes below).

Your sauce should have thickened a bit, so now you can add the olives, capers, and wine, and allow it to keep warm over low heat while you prepare the pasta according to the package directions. Once the pasta is ready, dish up!

Optional Additions:

Chicken: I thinly sliced (1/4-inch thick) 1 lb of boneless skinless chicken breasts. I sprinkled them with 1 tablespoon of cornstarch, 1/2 teaspoon of  salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper (I skipped the black pepper in the sauce). I then drizzled a little bit of wine over the top and stirred to coat the chicken with the cornstarch mixture. From there, I heated about 1 tablespoon of oil in a non-stick skillet, and sauteed the chicken until it was cooked through (no pink!) but still tender. I added the chicken to my sauce just before serving.

Vegetarian-Style: In my opinion, this sauce is just begging for cauliflower. Cook 12 ounces of florets in the sauce, or lightly steam them, layer them atop your pasta, and pour the sauce on.

Yields 4 very flavorful servings

Bloggy Events: I am submitting this post to Presto Pasta Nights! The upcoming event is being hosted by Thyme for Cooking. It is also being submitted to Thrifty Thursdays over at Amanda’s Cookin’.

Easy Veggie Udon for Ramen Lovers

Posted by on April 19, 2009 | 24 Comments

Earlier this week, I needed something to go with two salmon filets I was baking. Since I was craving some carbs, and it was a little too late to whip up a batch of bread … and I wasn’t patient enough to wait for brown rice to cook, I decided pasta was the way to go. The salmon was marinated in a sesame-soy concoction, generally Asian inspired, so I was excited when I spotted some udon noodles in the cupboard (to keep with the theme of course!).

I literally threw the noodles together with a simple veggie saute I created, and it turned out to be the star of the meal. We both agreed that the noodles had a Ramen-esque flavor, taking us back to the MSG-rich days of our childhoods. Obviously, I used a fair dose of sodium, between the wee bit of soy sauce and those few dashes of salt, but I dare say the dish was pretty healthy overall.

Easy Veggie Udon

After the success of that throw together dish, my cravings lingered on … so much so that I had to attempt a re-creation just two nights later.  Don’t misunderstand, this is a very basic dish, not earth-shattering in creativity by any means. But as mentioned before, it is often the simple flavors that get me most!

I ate this as a meal, it was rather filling, but yes, no “protein.” Sometimes I just crave veggies and carbs. If you want to add some protein, be my guest … meat, eggs, tofu, sliced almonds, chopped peanuts, whatever works for you! Hmm, I didn’t think to sprinkle on some toasted sesame seeds, that might be nice too.

Easy Veggie Udon

This recipe is Vegetarian, Vegan, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Nut-Free, Soy-Protein-Free, and Optional Gluten-Free

  • 8 Ounces Udon Noodles (may substitute other noodles in a pinch; for gluten-free I recommend Eden’s all buckwheat soba noodles or rice noodles)
  • 3 Tablespoons Sesame Oil, divided
  • 3 Carrots, peeled into large shreds using a vegetable peeler
  • 3 Large Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 12 Ounces Mushrooms, thickly sliced
  • 1 5-Ounce Bag Baby Spinach Leaves
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce or Wheat-Free Tamari, divided
  • 1 Teaspoon Onion Powder
  • Salt to taste (I used around 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon, but I would start with a dash or two and work your way up)
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste or a Few Pinches of Crushed Red Pepper

Cook the noodles according to the package directions.

While those are boiling, heat 2 tablespoons of the sesame oil over medium-low heat (I do a lower heat to protect the flavor of the oil, but you can up it to medium if you are really hungry).

Add the carrots and saute for a few minutes. Add the garlic and mushrooms and saute just until the mushrooms begin to soften, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the spinach and 1/2 tablespoon of soy sauce, and saute for just a couple of minutes, until those leavese start to wilt.

Turn off the heat, and stir in the noodles, garlic powder, remaining 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, remaining 1 tablespoon of sesame oil, and any add-ins (see below), tossing well to ensure everything is coated with those flavors. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve in big bowls.

Add-ins: I steamed 12 oz of broccoli florets (about 7 minutes; until crisp tender) and tossed them in along with the noodles. The second time I made it, I also added about 1/2 lb of steamed baby carrots, merely because I didn’t have any whole carrots to shred. I recommend the peeled or shredded carrots (in the recipe) over the steamed chunks, but personal preference.

Yields 3 meal-sized servings

veggieudon4

Blog Events: I am submitting this recipe for Presto Pasta Nights # 110 being held at Chew on That. It is my first contribution to that blogging event; hopefully more to come!

 

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