This past week has been a bit crazy for me, as I've had to pack up over three years worth of my belongings and move into a new place (I know three years isn't that long, but somehow I've accumulated a lot of stuff - mostly junk haha). Not surprisingly, I've been relying on quick and easy meals that don't involve much cooking to get me through the process!
Now that I'm finally settled into my new place, I'm looking forward to getting back into a routine and testing out my new kitchen! Although I'm not sure how my baking is going to turn out with a stove that currently only has one oven rack that appears to be stuck in the lower half of the oven...
The first actual meal that I cooked for myself after moving in was this simple summery pasta dish of thin spaghettini noodles tossed with a variety of colourful roasted veggies and balsamic vinegar, and topped with some fresh basil.
This dish was inspired by a recipe from the cookbook Appetite for Reduction, which used fusilli pasta and a slightly different mix of vegetables (I left out the yellow squash and added spinach and basil). The original recipe was called a pasta primavera, but to me primavera usually implies pasta with veggies in a creamy white sauce, and this dish is quite different!
Instead of adding a sauce, the vegetables are simply roasted until tender with lots of herbs and garlic, then tossed with the noodles in balsamic vinegar for a nice light meal that really highlighted the veggies - perfect for summer evenings!
The basil was a nice addition, and feel free to add other toppings you like, such as parmesan cheese, toasted pine nuts, or maybe even a touch of pesto!
Roasted Veggie Spaghetti with Balsamic & Basil
Adapted from Appetite for Reduction
1/2 bunch asparagus
1 large zucchini
1 small red onion
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes
1 bell pepper (I recommend orange, red, or yellow)
4-6 cloves garlic (4 large or 6 smaller)
1-2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp dried thyme or basil (I used basil because I didn’t have thyme)
Salt and pepper
1/2 lb spaghettini (or another pasta)
2 cups packed baby spinach leaves
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
A few handfuls of fresh basil
Preheat oven to 450°F and line two baking sheets with aluminum foil.
Prepare the veggies: snap the woody ends off the asparagus and slice the stalks into smaller pieces (3-4 pieces per stalk). Slice the zucchini into half-inch slices. Peel the onion and cut in half, then slice each half into thin slices. Cut the bell pepper in half, remove the seeds and core, and thinly slice. Peel the garlic and cut into thin slices as well.
Divide the veggies among the baking pans and toss with the olive oil. Sprinkle the dried herbs over top and season generously with salt and pepper. Toss to mix. Place in preheated oven for 15 minutes, then remove pans and give the veggies a toss. Return to oven for another 10-15 minutes, until tender and browned.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package directions, then drain.
Add the pasta and roasted veggies to a large bowl. Stir in the spinach so that it wilts. Add balsamic vinegar and toss well to mix. Divide into serving bowls, top with some fresh basil and season to taste with salt and pepper. You might want to add another drizzle of balsamic vinegar as well.
Makes 4 servings.