|Black bean pasta with pumpkin, mushrooms and feta|
An Auckland restaurant I worked in when I was 17 made these chunky-style sauce-less pasta dishes. Sometimes the chefs at Sour Dough used to whip up some for the kitchen-hands, and I'm still trying to mimic those tasty lunches.
The great thing about this way of serving pasta is that anything goes. Almost.
Here's the version I made the other night, but I've also added a list of good vegetarian alternatives at the bottom.
SPAGHETTI WITH ROAST PUMPKIN, FETA, BROCCOLI, MUSHROOMS AND PESTO
I used a black bean spaghetti for a healthier, more interesting dish but any will do. The black noodles didn't score so well in the office lunch-envy stakes. But Billie sucked them up with gusto.
Packet of spaghetti or other pasta
1/4 pumpkin, skinned and chopped into bite sized chunks
1 broccoli head, washed and chopped into chunks
3-4 spring onions
handful of mushrooms - large brown ones better but button will do
half block feta, chopped/crumbled
Roast pumpkin in olive oil and a little salt and pepper. Bring large pot of salted water to boil. Before adding pasta, get broccoli and mushrooms cooking. Saute mushrooms in hot cast-iron pan with a little olive oil and butter. You'll need to cook in several lots in a single layer. Cook on medium-high until just browned. Cook broccoli in little bit of water or in steamer until tender. Fry up spring onions and a couple of cloves of chopped garlic in some oil, or add to mushrooms.
While all this is going on, cook pasta. Drain and stir few generous tablespoons of pesto through. Pour into large serving bowl and gently stir through cooked vegetables and feta.
Chunky pasta dishes also work well: cherry tomatoes, red onions, olives, artichokes, capers, ricotta, courgette/zucchini, red pepper/capsicum, aubergine/eggplant, walnuts, English spinach, asparagus, rocket, fresh herbs, blue cheese, peas, sun-dried tomatoes etc etc.
If you've been missing your billie bites of culinary inspiration the past few weeks, I do have a good explanation for my absence. The first program I was assigned upon my return to the office was food-related...'Organic Food'. Check out the link below: