I spent many years eating a lot of pasta (and I still do eat a lot of pasta) exclusively with tomato based sauces. With melted cheese on the top (I think it was the melted cheese I wanted really, not the tomato based pasta!). And then a few months ago I realised that actually, I enjoyed creamy based pasta sauces too and so my allegiance has switched and this is my favourite pasta of the moment.
To my mind pasta has a lot going for it – reasonably cheap, keeps forever in the cupboard (sprouting, green potatoes I’m looking at you…), is quick and easy to make when I can’t be bothered to think after a day at work and is very versatile in terms of what you can put with it. Admittedly I don’t take advantage of that last aspect so much, sticking to what I’ve found I enjoy.
And this is what I’m enjoying the most at the moment. Soften courgette cut into half-moon shapes until lightly coloured in a little oil. Start the pasta cooking; your sauce won’t take long. When the courgette is soft and coloured, add frozen spinach and roasted peppers (I roast these in batches and freeze them for ease). Add a little water and bash the spinach until it defrosts. Add Philadelphia cheese, salt and pepper. Squash the cream cheese into the rest of the sauce ingredients until it melts and forms a creamy sauce. In the meantime add broccoli to the pasta pan – time depends on how large you cut the florets but I usually reckon about five minutes.
Drain pasta, mix into sauce. Eat. Creamy and delicious. I tend to use Light Philadelphia but I’m sure full fat would be fine. Not sure about the ‘Lightest’ Philadelphia; I have a feeling it’s largely water and stabilisers but I could try it one day to prove myself right or wrong.
I’m going to sneak this into a few blog challenges. Vegetable Palette which this month is your favourite vegetable hosted at A2K. Call me odd but I have a particular love for both broccoli and courgette so this qualifies for me. Pasta Please – asking for any pasta dish hosted by Tinned Tomatoes and this month Jen’s Food. Extra Veg because really, this is just a delicious way to eat four different vegetables without even really thinking about it! Hosted this month by Veggie Desserts. And finally into the No Waste Food Challenge hosted by Elizabeth’s Kitchen. I reckon that using frozen spinach and frozen peppers qualifies – frozen vegetables are often fresher as they’re frozen at their peak and you can use exactly the amount you need – no waste 🙂
Obviously, this isn’t a picture of roasted butternut squash and red pepper risotto – it’s mushroom and sundried tomato risotto. I decided that the photo of the former was not particularly attractive so there we have it; I will leave you to imagine what my bowl of sunshine yellow risotto with red peppers looked like.
Risotto is another of my favourite meals to have. I haven’t been all that adventurous with risotto, but regulars at my dinner table are mushroom risotto and courgette risotto, usually with sundried tomatoes added and occasionally bits of sausage or chicken, depending on whether the mood takes me or not.
This was a bit of a departure and featured roasted butternut squash (BNS because I’m lazy) and roasted red and yellow peppers (I roast these in batches and then freeze them – they’re really handy to have to throw into all sorts of meals and add colour and hopefully nutrients too!). And I added the sundried tomatoes too – I like their chewy texture, their flavour and I have quite a few in the cupboard to work through at the moment.
Preheat the oven, peel and deseed the BNS, rub with some oil and roast until tender. I wasn’t really paying attention to the timing for this but probably about 45 minutes at about 170C ish. I started roasting the BNS just before I started the risotto. Soften the onion (I used a red one because when I cut into my white onion it looked a bit weird) in some oil and then add the (risotto) rice. Stir until well coated with the oil and then when it sounds like it’s cracking a bit add some dry sherry. Add sundried tomatoes if you fancy. Add stock, stirring occasionally (it’s too much effort to stir all the time!) until the rice is soft to your liking. l don’t like al-dente rice so the 20-25 minutes on the packet is never long enough. Reserve some of the roasted BNS to cut into cubes to garnish and then add the rest of the roasted BNS near to the end, mashing it in well so that the pot turns golden. I added the roasted peppers close to the end of the cooking time but actually, next time I defrost and warm them through some other way because the stirring made them fall apart completely. Finish the risotto with a generous amount of grated parmesan.
Pretty successful though I still have a preference for mushroom or courgette! Out of interest my stock powder of choice is Kallo at the moment. It doesn’t contain garlic and I really, really don’t like garlic. So it’s a winning choice.
I’m going to link this to ‘Extra Veg’ a blogging challenge to encourage us all to add veg to our diets. I’m lucky that there are plenty of veggies that I really enjoy eating but this recipe would be a great way of getting more veg into your family meals! Hosted by Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary this month and founded by Helen at Fuss Free Flavours and Michelle at Utterly Scrummy.
OK, I relent, photo is below….