Thursday, March 05, 2009

Pasta with roasted veggies

Dear foodies,

Pasta's are my go-to dishes most nights. Simple to prepare and they hold well until next day's lunch too. There is no fixed recipe that I follow for it, I toss in vegetables and spices in random depending on my mood that night and its ready. Most often its a warm and spicy dish but sometimes I turn it into a cold salad too, especially when using orzo or cous cous. The only time I looked for a recipe was when I made lasagna for the first time I guess. But even with that, once you know the method you can start experimenting.

I am not a fan of pasta's drowned in sauces though, specially in a bland & boring tomato sauce. If I buy marinara style sauces I use them over pizza's or other dishes but never with pasta. Spaghetti and marinara is known to be such a classic combo, but I have it stuck in my brain that the combo sucks :D When I order pasta in the restaurants I have it either with a flavorful pesto or with roasted veggies where you can taste each ingredient and not have to go fishing for it in a sauce and making a mess around you :) I know I am exaggerating, but still :D I prefer to make my pasta dry, with loads of veggies in it. A very convenient way to incorporate them into my daily quota when its a one-pot dish that I am making. As an added bonus the resulting dish is much more colorful.
Pasta with roasted vegetables
Ingredients:
  • 2 cups - dry Pasta, I used chiocciole
  • 1 cup - Chickpeas, pre-cooked or canned
  • 1 cup - Red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 no - medium sized Yellow squash, cubed
  • 1/2 cup - Onions, cubed
  • 1/4 tsp - Garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp - Red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp - Cumin powder
  • 1 Tbsp - Olive oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Cilantro/coriander leaves for garnish
Method:
  1. Boil water for the pasta, add salt, pasta and cook until al dente. Don't salt the water until it comes to a boil or it will never come to a 'boil'. Meanwhile, heat a wide pan with the oil, add the garlic and red pepper flakes when the oil is still cold. This infuses the oil with their flavors as it heats up.
  2. Drain and pat the chickpeas dry with a tissue. Add it to the oil and saute on medium high heat until the chickpeas start to brown. Add the onions and red bell pepper next and saute a little longer until the soften and also start to char around the corners.
  3. The yellow squash goes in next as it takes lesser time to cook. Also add needed salt and cumin powder now. Adjust the amount of cumin to your liking, it gives the veggies a warm and smoky flavor.
  4. When the pasta is done, drain it well. Reserve about a 1/4th of the cooking liquid and add it to the veggies. Toss in the cooked pasta and combine, the added liquid will help bring them together and flavor the pasta as well. Mix well to incorporate the veggies and then cooked undisturbed for a couple of minutes so the pasta gets a slight char too. Turn off the heat and garnish with cilantro and serve warm :)
I totally enjoyed eating this pasta dish and like how it turned out. Whenever I add chickpeas to a dish I cook it this way so it has a little crunch to it and is not a complete mush. The charred veggies along with the smoky cumin were an excellent pairing. The slight browning on the pasta worked really well too and it gave it a different texture. The shape of the pasta I used is called chiocciole, meaning shells in Italian. It added to the fun of the dish cos the chickpeas found a cozy corner to nestle into. Do you see them peeking out of the pasta ? :D

With spring coming right up with its bounty of vegetables, you can play around with the combination. I am sure some roasted asparagus would be really good in this. You could conveniently use the oven to roast the veggies and finish it off in a pan on the stove top. I went to a Italian cooking class yesterday and got this interesting tidbit about selecting red peppers. Look on the side of the red pepper opposite to the stem, select one that has 4 or more points. The more points it has the sweeter the pepper is supposed to be. So next time you visit the store, start counting, I surely will :D



This dish is off to Soma who is hosting HHDD this month at her blog. Its an event facilitated by Bron and she was the winner last month :) Its time for all of you to come out with your delicious pasta recipes now :)



19 thoughts:

Divya Vikram said...

Colorful and healthy!

Soma said...

Priya this is an awesome dish! love the way u have charred the pastas, & the use of the cumin!

& nice tip on buying the peppers.

Madhu said...

Pasta dish looks fabulous, like roated veggies and chickpes along with that.

sunita said...

That looks gorgeous :-)

Pavani said...

Yummy looking pasta. I like my pasta with lot of gravy though :-( But yours looks delicious too, I'm gonna try next time. Nice tip for the peppers, will keep in mind.

Priya said...


Divya, yess! On most days I end up choosing the vegetables based on color :))

Soma, I am waiting to go and test it at the store :) I was in a 'cumin' phase sometime back :P

Madhu, thank you :) I like the veggies with some cous cous too, that's when I am super lazy to even cook the pasta :))

Sunita, thank you :)

Pavani, hehehe, you should have realized by now that I'm a lil crazy :D

Lakshmi Venkatesh said...

Beautiful. Pasta looks very tempting and colourful.

A_and_N said...

They look gorgeous :) Lovely, lovely tips too!

Suparna said...

Hi Priya,
looks healthy. It's a treat for good health!
TC

Gayathri said...

Looks very tasty. would like to taste it.

Namratha said...

That is one hearty dish, I love pasta too. I have never used cumin before with pasta, sounds good!

Priti said...

Colourful and yummy...nice one

Nirmala said...

Priya this pasta dish looks lovley. Yesterday inspired by the bloggin world trid to make pasta at home. I went for a saucy backdrop for my pasta and as there were loads of tomatoes at home I made a tomato sauce. Some problm with the tomatoe their were too sour and none of could eat one full mouthful. Might be I should have lessened the amount of tomatoes but it didn't strike. Total failure :( This plate invites me right away and I shall sure count the backs of the red-peppers :)

Alka said...

Perfect entry,and pasta looks so ravishingly beautiful(if i could use that term in this context...lolz)
And Hey,Happy Holi to u and ur family !

Sandeepa said...

I don't like pastas drained in sauce either. I make it almost like noodles :)

I liked the color and the way the pasta has been charred

Vaishali said...

Roasted veggies in pasta sound delicious. The dish looks absolutely lovely, Priya.

mona said...

Pasta is one of my fav dinners too, especially when I dont feel like cooking. This is gonna be my dinner today, thanks for sharing :-)

ChichaJo said...

Great entry! I love all the roasted veggies and the way you've put a char on the pasta as well...must be so tasty!

Sharmila said...

That's a wonderful looking dish Priya! Love the charred idea .. congrats on winning HHDD! :-)

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