Mediterranean Vegetable Pasta

Juicy courgettes, peppers and onions in a red wine, tomato and garlic sauce piled on a bed of wholewheat pasta and topped with a few shavings of fresh parmesean.

Profile:

10 mins prep + 10 mins cook = 20 mins total; 2 servings @ 380 cals or 4.5 Weightwatchers points per serving.

Ingredients:

  • 2 courgettes (slices)
  • 1 yellow pepper (pieces)
  • 1 red onion (wedges)
  • 2 garlic cloves (crushed)
  • 400g of tomatoes (chopped)
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp Worcester sauce
  • 50 ml vegetable stock
  • 50 ml red wine
  • 1 tbsp flat leaf parsley (chopped)
  • 1 tbsp flat leaf parsley (torn)
  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper
  • Parmesean (shavings)
  • 200g dried wholewheat pasta (your favourite)

Directions:

  1. Heat a little of the vegetable stock in a large pan, add the garlic and fry gently for 1 minute to release the flavour. Then add the courgettes, turn up the heat and fry for another couple of minutes on their own before adding the pepper and onion.
  2. Meanwhile, add the pasta to a saucepan of boiling water with a pinch of salt, bring back to a simmer and cook for about 12ish minutes until “al dente”.
  3. When the vegetables have softened and starting to colour (after 5 minutes or so), add the tomatoes, stock, wine, chopped parsley, worcester sauce, balsamic vinegar and a pinch of salt and simmer for 10 minutes stirring occasionally. Check the taste and adjust accordingly.
  4. When your pasta is ready, drain well and stir into the vegetable sauce along with the olive oil. Divide into 2 servings and top with the shaved parmesean and torn flat leaf parsley.

Alternative Options:

Make double the recipe to enjoy the next day for lunch, or freeze for your own healthy ready meal whenever you need it. Mix it up by skipping the pasta and serving the vegetable sauce with a meat-free chicken style escalope; jacket potato or hunk of bread. Keep it vegan by using vegan cheese or omitting it altogether.

Foodwitch Factoid:

Nutritionists report that heating food can reduce the nutritional value of food so frying the vegetables gently in stock helps to maximise the benefits. Similarily adding the olive oil at the end provides all the omega-3 & 6 benefits as well as all the flavour.

Nutritional Analysis Per Serving:

  • Calories 380.5
  • Total Fat 9.0 g
  • Saturated Fat 1.6 g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat 1.1 g
  • Monounsaturated Fat 5.4 g
  • Cholesterol 2.0 mg
  • Sodium 1,237.1 mg
  • Potassium 1,104.1 mg
  • Total Carbohydrate 64.4 g
  • Dietary Fiber 12.2 g
  • Sugars 3.1 g
  • Protein 12.7 g
  • Vitamin A 58.7 %
  • Vitamin B-12 0.6 %
  • Vitamin B-6 32.1 %
  • Nutritional analysis courtesy of Sparkpeople.com
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Hearty Farmhouse Minestrone

Satisfying thick and chunky version of the classic italian soup, made with autumn vegetables, pasta and beans. The sweetness of the swede and tomatoes combines with the rosemary to create a wonderfully heady aroma. Don’t worry if the cauliflower breaks up towards the end, this helps to create the thickness without needing to put the soup in a processor.

Serves 4 :: Make in 50 mins :: 420 calories per serving :: One-Off Wonder :: Easy Freezy Ready Meal :: Lazy Leftovers

Ingredients:

1 cauliflower
1 swede
2 carrots
1 onion
200g red kidney beans (1/2 tin)
400g ratatouillie (1 tin)
1 tbsp olive oil
2 vegetable stock cubes
1 tsp dried bay leaves (crushed)
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp rosemary
Sea salt
200g wholewheat fusilli pasta
4 tbsp parmesan cheese (or vegetarian/vegan cheese alternative)
4 tbsp fresh flat leaf parsley

Directions:

1. Chop the onion and fry gently in the olive oil in a heavy bottomed pan until starting to soften (5 mins).

2. Boil a kettle of water, crumble the vegetable stock cubes into a measuring jug and make up a pint of stock.

3. Meanwhile, chop the carrot into chunky slices. Peel the swede and chop into similar sized pieces. Chop the cauliflower into small florets. Add the carrot, swede, cauliflower, ratatouillie, vegetable stock, sea salt, dried oregano and dried bay leaves to the pan. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, shave the cheese (lol), chop the fresh parsley, drain the beans and measure the pasta.

5. Add the pasta to the vegetable stew and boil hard, stirring occaisionally until the pasta is cooked (about 7-8 minutes – a minute or so longer than usual). Take care that the vegetables don’t stick to the bottom and burn.

6. Add the kidney beans about 3-4 minutes before the end to warm through, together with the dried rosemary to create an intenser flavour.

7. Serve up in bowls, scattered with the cheese and parsley.

Suggestions: Serve on it’s own or with a slice of bread and butter for an extra 150 calories. Freeze and simply defrost 10 hours before use or in the microwave. Reheat from fridge temperature in the microwave in 3-5 minutes, stirring half way though. Reheat on the hob on a medium temperature for about 10-15 minutes, stirring occaisionally.

Italian Bean & Pesto Tagliatelli

Ribbons of pasta, beans, red peppers and onions wrapped in a sun-dried tomato pesto sauce finished with pine nuts, parmesan and fresh flat leaf parsley.

Serves 2 :: Ready in 10 minutes :: 480 calories per serving :: One-Off Wonder :: Easy Freezy Ready Meal :: Lazy Leftovers

Italian Bean Pesto Tagliatelli

Italian Bean Pesto Tagliatelli

Ingredients:

1 Red Pepper
1 Onion
1/2 Can of Red Kidney Beans (200g)
1 tsp Dried Oregano
8 tsp Red Pesto
2 tbsp Olive Oil
170g Tagliatelli Pasta
2 tbsp Parmesan Cheese (or vegetarian cheese alternative)
5g Pine Nuts
1 tbsp Fresh Flat Leaf Parsley

Directions:

1. Boil a kettle of water and cook the pasta as per packet instructions then drain (6 mins).

2. Chop the onion and fry it gently in the olive oil while you finely slice the red pepper and add this to the pan. Cook till soft (5 mins).

3. Meanwhile, chop the flat leaf parsley and make a few shavings of parmesan cheese and get your serving plates ready.

4. Add 2 small handfuls of pine nuts per person to a non-stick frying pan on a very low heat and toast lightly, constantly shaking the pan so they don’t burn (2-3 minutes). Then turn the pan off.

5. Add the beans, oregano and the pesto to the softened vegetables and warm through (2 mins). Then add the cooked pasta (reserve some pasta liquid to loosen the sauce if need be). Serve with the pine nuts, parsley and parmesan scattered on top.