I am dedicating this recipe to a really good friend, Jeanine Valdez. She was the first person that accepted me in the firm I work at now, as an employee and as a friend. She left the firm about 5 years ago but we’ve kept in touch over the years. She is a great person to know.
One day, while working with her, I told her I would make her something that was completely vegetarian that I believe she would enjoy. This dish was the first thing I created for her and brought to lunch along with some vegetarian pot stickers (for a different blog) and she did enjoy it. 🙂
What you will need for this dish is:
One medium yellow squash. You want a smaller one because it will be less green inside and will have fewer seeds.
One medium green zucchini. If you happen to find yellow grab one of those too, the more the merrier is what I say!
One small yellow bell pepper
One small orange bell pepper
One small red bell pepper (I skipped this since I could not find any that were good looking).
One medium onion
Three cloves of garlic
Bunch of asparagus
6 medium sized mushrooms (I prefer Baby Bellas)
2 plum tomatoes
Extra virgin olive oil
One pound of your favorite pasta – I like bow tie or cavatappi (corkscrew)
Fresh parmesan cheese
This is a dish that you can cook all in one pot in all the stages. What you will need to do is fill a 4 quart skillet with some cold water and about 2 teaspoons of salt and set on high heat to boil. As the water is coming to a boil, slice the squash and zucchini into half moon shapes about 1/3 to 1/2 inch thick and set aside. grab your asparagus and cut about an inch off the bottom and set aside, you can trim the bottoms of these and use them to make creamed asparagus soup. Trim the asparagus into 1 1/2 inch long pieces and set aside. Cut out the stem of the peppers, slice it into half and clean out the seeds and the white membrane inside. Once you have cleaned the peppers, slice them from top to bottom into 1/4 inch slices and set aside. Dice your tomatoes and set aside. Take the mushrooms, rinse them, cut off the bottoms of the stem, slice and then set aside. For the onion, you can either dice or slice the onion depending on how you prefer for presentation and eating; I diced my onions then set them aside. As for the garlic, you want to smash it and then mince them up and set aside with the onions.
Once your water has come to a boil and you have finish prepping your veggies, you want to blanch the asparagus for about 30 seconds to a minute depending on the thickness of the stalks. Quickly remove the asparagus from the water and run cold water over them. Repeat the same steps for the peppers, squash and zucchini. Once you have cooled down the veggies, set them aside, empty and rinse the skillet you used for boiling then return to the heat. Once the water has evaporated from the skillet, drizzle about 1 tablespoon of the olive oil into it, Once you start to see the oil heat to a ripple toss in your onions and garlic, turn the heat to medium high and stir constantly to avoid burning the garlic. Once the onions start to look like they are turning clear you want to add 1 tablespoon of the Italian seasoning by crushing it between the palms of your hands to release the fragrance and flavor. Now you want to add the items that take longer to cook like the peppers, then the squash, zucchini and mushrooms. Once these veggies have gotten a little softer, add the tomatoes and asparagus to the mix and simmer for about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the mix from the heat and place into a bowl.
For the pasta you can rinse the skillet you used for the first 2 steps of cooking and add cold water and salt and bring to a boil. Add your favorite pasta to the water and cook till it is al dente. Drain the pasta but return it to the skillet, add the veggie mix, sprinkle with a pinch or 2 of salt, add some fresh shredded parmesan cheese, toss and serve.
If you have any left over garlic bread feel free to warm it and serve with this dish. If you do not and want to make some fresh garlic bread, please refer to my Lamb Chops, It’s What’s For Dinner for the recipe.
If you want to add some meat to this dish, you can either grill some chicken, slice it and toss in or you can brown some Italian sausage and add to the mix.