Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Whole Wheat Pasta with Zucchini, Tomatoes, & Capers

I watch The Hills. What, you were expecting my grandmother's spaghetti sauce recipe? (Not on your life.)

LC, Speidi, Audrina vs. Justin Bobby - I can't get enough of it. I wait all week for the juvenile drama and cheap thrills of the lives of SoCal's rich, famous, and entitled. This is in no way relevant to the recipe you're about to read, it just feels good to publicly admit to such a shallow and brain-melting pastime.

Were any of The Hills castmates to actually eat anything (it's actually written into their contracts that they have to subsist on only iceberg lettuce and Pear Martinis), I think that they might be able to get away with this one. It's another vegetarian dish that I consider pretty healthy. Of course it has a little fat - for flavor - but this recipe makes several servings - at least four, and the fat plays a very minor role, taking a backseat to the fresh veggies and wholesome noodles.

It's simple, fresh, and flavorful. I can even see modifying the recipe a bit and making it a cold Summer salad - it would be the perfect accompaniment to grilled chicken skewers or the like.



1/4 white onion, chunked
1 small shallot, thinly sliced
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 and 1/2 c. halved grape tomatoes
1/2 large zucchini, sliced into half moons
3 c. cooked whole wheat rotini
1 c. chicken broth
1/3 c. half and half
1/4 c. drained capers
1 T. chopped fresh oregano
1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 T. butter
1 T. olive oil
salt and pepper
red pepper flakes
grated parmesan as garnish (optional)
*I also added about a 1/4 of a yellow bell pepper, diced, just so I could get rid of it. Not necessary, really.


In a large skillet with lid, heat the butter and oil over medium-high. Saute the onion and shallot, seasoning with a little salt and pepper, until translucent and slightly browned at the edges. Add the garlic and cook for about a minute.


Add the chicken broth, tomatoes, zucchini, herbs, some salt and pepper and red pepper flakes. Stir and cover, cooking on medium-high for about 10 minutes, until tomatoes start to break down and zucchini is tender.


Meanwhile, cook the pasta and drain, setting aside.


Reduce heat to medium-low and stir in half and half and capers. Bring the heat up a little, simmering until the mixture reduces a bit. Stir in the pasta and cook for 2-3 minutes, until pasta is hot. Enjoy!

This came out nicely. I added quite a bit of red pepper flakes, since I love them, so use your judgement and add or leave out what you don't like. If you hate zucchini, use broccoli. If you like penne, use that. Not a caper fan? No big deal. This could easily take on Mediterranean flavors with feta and black olives; it could scream Spring with peas and asparagus; or it could be a nice base for chicken breast or turkey sausage. That's what I love about pasta - it's a blank canvas.

Thanks for reading! More soon...

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