When I first moved out on my own, my go to dinner was pasta and veggies. I would make any combination of vegetables in numerous kinds of sauce. It was quick, easy, I was eating my veggies, and pasta was cheap! I will admit that some experiments were better than others. But you live, learn, and gain confidence that you can cook other things. Many years later I will admit my go to dish is still pasta and veggies. But now that I am older and more sophisticated I call it pasta primavera (even though I am just cleaning out the refrigerator with the random veggies I have), it just sound so much nicer. I was going over what was in our refrigerator the other day and I knew it was either time make a soup, or time for some pasta primavera. But then I thought why not combine the two so that you have a really light pasta primavera? My end result was light, flavorful, satisfying, pleasing, and gratifying. Brian cleaned his bowl, went back for seconds, and packed up leftovers for another dinner later in the week. Good thing I had all that practice when I first moved out on my own!
Light Pasta Primavera (serves 6)
½ onion, chopped
¼ head cauliflower; trimmed, and chopped into florets
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
2 stalks of celery, chopped
1 beet, peeled and cubed small
1 bunch of Swiss or Rainbow Chard, stemmed and chopped small
2 – 3 cups of vegetable broth
½ cup of dry white wine
¼ tsp of dried thyme
¼ tsp of crushed red pepper
1 tbsp of olive oil
½ pound of small pasta
Sea Salt and fresh black pepper to taste
Blue Cheese, for crumbling over top
First, fill a large 6 quart pot with salted water and place over medium high heat. Then place a 4 quart pot over medium heat and add in your olive oil until warm. Add in your crushed red pepper, thyme, and onion and stir until your onions soften.
Meanwhile, place your beet in a small pan with enough water to cover and simmer until your beet is tender. About 15 minutes depending in the size of your beet cubes. When cooked through, drain and set aside.
Next; add your cauliflower, carrot, and celery to your onion and stir well and let it come to a simmer. Add your broth and white wine to your veggie mixture and let it all simmer together. You are looking to cook them all until they are tender when pierced. Season with sea salt and black pepper and sprinkle your Swiss or rainbow chard until wilted.
Then, when your water is boiling pour in your pasta and stir it well. Cook it according to your packages instructions. Strain your pasta when done cooking.
Finally, add your beet to your veggie mixture. You will see that your veggies will keep their bright colors, but your broth will appear to turn a bright deep pink / red hue from the beets. Toss in your pasta, and ladle into bowls and serve. Sprinkle the blue cheese over the top and enjoy.