I use to stay clear of pasta due to the fear of gaining weight, silly, I know. My first introductions to pasta were spaghetti on Sunday nights. My mother made spaghetti sauce from scratch. I have fond memories of watching my mother stir the ingredients together in the large brown crock-pot. As I got older I was allowed to shake in each spice that contributed to the great aromas of sauce that lingered throughout the kitchen. The second pasta I became familiar with was cold pasta salad at family pot-luck get-togethers. I don’t really have any fond memories of pasta salad, it always looked like there was too much mayonnaise on the noodles and chunks of ham and celery. Yuck! Says my six-year-old ego.
Pasta became a staple in my diet when I moved away from home because it was cheap and easy to make. When I worked in the Canadian Rockies at the luxury hotel I started to make my own dinners before work. After a while, the staff cafeteria becomes redundant. In the winter after I would come back from a two to three-hour cross-country ski adventure I would make a quick penne dish filled with grilled peppers and simple butter and garlic sauce. It filled me, gave me the energy I needed to run around during my evening shift in the dining room. When I started to train for my first marathon I ate pasta when I would start running longer distances as part of my training. Carbs are a great way to give you energy for race day.
Now we enjoy pasta in our regular weekly menu. Sometimes it is full-on spaghetti, but we make our sauce without ground beef or turkey. We use veggie ground and has the same texture as beef or turkey. Some weeks I will make old-school baked macaroni & cheese with a mix of sharp, old and Monterey jack cheese. For the first time last week I made stuffed cannoli and it turned out great! During the spring and summer season, we like to make pasta salads, something simple and light. I found a great recipe that trumps my child-hood chunky ham pasta salad. It is from Jamie Oliver, this recipe is quick and delish! I have changed the ingredients of what is used in the recipe, it’s all about the dressing that keeps me going back for more.
Serves up to six people.
11 ounces small shell pasta (we like bow tie, penne or fusilli)
1 garlic cloves (optional)
1 red or yellow pepper, diced. Or both if you like.
1 carrot (shredded)
½ cup purple cabbage or spinach
1 Roma tomato, diced
1⁄4 cup fresh basil
4 tablespoons white wine vinegar
7 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
fresh ground black pepper
Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil.
Throw in the pasta and garlic and simmer for about 5 minutes or until al dente and drain.
Put the garlic to one side for the dressing.
Put the pasta in a bowl.
Ass the tomatoes, peppers, carrots, spinach, and basil and add to the bowl.
Dice the garlic to almost a paste
Add the vinegar, oil and seasoning.
Drizzle this over the salad, adding a little more seasoning to taste & Enjoy!
Until tomorrow, Keep on Typing…