Monday, 19 July 2010

Meatless Monday - The 21st Century Housewife's Creamy Summer Spaghetti

This is a great recipe if you have a vegetable garden because you can just pick whatever is ready to eat - even if it is only a little bit of a few things - and make something incredibly delicious. It’s also great for using up odds and ends of vegetables that you have in the fridge. When I photographed the recipe I used carrots sliced in matchsticks, zucchini sliced in half moons, French beans, fresh peas and spring onions but no matter what combination of vegetables I choose it always tastes fresh and delicious. Quick and easy to make, it doesn’t involve a lot of time in the kitchen on a hot day either. 

To serve four people, you need:-

about 12 to 14 ounces of uncooked spaghetti
1 tablespoon of olive oil
2 cups of chopped and prepared vegetables
¼ cup fresh or frozen peas
about seven or eight spring onions (white and pale green parts only), thinly sliced
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
½ cup vegetable stock
½ cup light cream or half and half
¼ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
(be sure to find a vegetarian variety if cooking this recipe for strict vegetarians)
about 2 teaspoons chopped fresh or 1 teaspoon dried herbs - try basil and/or oregano or tarragon depending on your choice of vegetables
salt and pepper to taste

Cook the spaghetti in boiling salted water as per the package instructions. 

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a frying pan over medium heat and stir fry the vegetables - except the peas and spring onions - for two to three minutes.  

Turn up the heat a little, splash in the vinegar and let it cook for about a minute, stirring the vegetables constantly. 

Now stir in the peas, spring onions and vegetable stock and let everything bubble together, again for about a minute. (Be careful not to overcook, you want the vegetables to be tender crisp.) 

Keep stirring regularly. Turn the heat back to medium again, and gradually add the cream, a bit at a time.  Stir in the cheese and herbs. Cook for about a minute to let the cheese melt into the creamy sauce.  Taste for flavour and add salt and pepper - or a few more herbs - if necessary. 

Drain the pasta and return it to its pan.  Pour the sauce and vegetables over the pasta and toss to coat.  Serve on warmed plates or bowls with a nice basket of crusty rolls on the side.

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