Creamy Asparagus Penne

Ingredients

1 lb penne

1 bunch asparagus, tough parts discarded, cut into 2 inch pieces

2 tbsp unsalted butter

2 tbsp all-purpose flour

1 medium onion, finely diced

3 to 5 cloves garlic, minced

2 tbsp fresh oregano, chopped

2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

2 cups skim milk

3/4 cup frozen peas, thawed

1 to 2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

Salt & pepper to taste

Directions

1.  Boil water for the pasta.  Add salt to water.

2.  While water is reaching a boil, heat the butter in a large saucepan.  Saute the onion and garlic until the onion is just becoming translucent and the garlic is fragrant.  Add the fresh herbs.  Add the flour and mix well.  Cook until the raw flour smell is gone, about 2 minutes.

3.  Add the milk slowly to the sauce base, mixing well and ensuring no lumps form.  Cook on low to medium heat, stirring frequently, until the milk is heated through and the sauce begins to thicken.  Add salt and pepper and crushed red pepper.  Continue cooking until sauce has thickened.  Add peas and remove from heat.

4.  While the sauce is thickening, the water should have reached a boil.  Add the pasta and cook for about 8 to 10 minutes, until the pasta is not quite done.  Add the asparagus and continue cooking until both asparagus and pasta are cooked, about 3 to 4 minutes.  Drain.

5.  Add the sauce to the pasta and toss well to coat.  Serve warm.

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Mixed Vegetable Curry… Or What To Do With Lonely Vegetables

Ever look in your pantry or refrigerator and see those random vegetables?  You know, the extra ones you bought just in case your recipe didn’t work out, or the ones you bought for the recipe you never tried but you used the other necessary ingredients so you can’t make it anyway?  Well, here’s a simple recipe to use up those lonely veggies.  You can use pretty much any vegetables for this.  Just be sure to pay attention to cook times so that some veggies don’t end up uncooked while others turn to mush.  Oh, and serve this with rice or any Indian bread.  Heck, have it with toast.  Still tastes good.

Ingredients

1 tbsp canola or vegetable oil

2 tsp cumin seeds

1 to 3 tsp red chilli powder, depending on how spicy you like it

2 to 4 green chillies, chopped, depending on how spicy you like it

2 cloves of garlic, minced

2 tbsp fresh ginger, minced or grated

1 medium onion, chopped

2 potatoes, peeled and chopped in 1/2 inch x 1 1/2 inch pieces

2 carrots, peeled and chopped in 1/2 inch x 1 1/2 inch pieces

1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped in 1/2 inch x 1 1/2 inch pieces

1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped in 1/2 inch x 1 1/2 inch pieces

1 tsp salt

1 cup frozen peas

1/2 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped

Directions

1.  Heat the oil in a large pan.  Add the cumin seeds and saute until just starting to brown.  Add the red chilli powder, saute for a few seconds, and then add the green chillies, garlic and ginger.  Try not to breathe the cooking fumes as the spice level will irritate your respiratory system.  Saute for a few more seconds and add the onions.  Saute until onions turn translucent.

2.  Add the carrots and potatoes and mix well.  Saute for about 5 minutes.  Add the bell peppers and saute a few more minutes.

3.  Add water to the pan, until the vegetables are just covered.  Add the salt and mix well.  Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and continue cooking for about 20 minutes, until the potatoes and carrots are just tender.  Add water if needed.  By the time the vegetables are cooked, the liquid will reduce to nice gravy thickened by the starch from the potatoes.  (If your gravy is too watery, you can mix in a thin paste made of 1 tbsp rice flour and a 1/4 cup of water and cook for a few extra minutes.)

4.  Mix in the peas and continue to cook for about 3 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve with rice or bread.