Monday, April 25, 2011

Wannabe pasta.

I have this favorite pasta dish I order from Arugula in Boulder. It's chicken and zucchini with penne, and it's to die for. Tonight, I attempted to recreate the dish adding a little of my own flare. It turned out pretty well for a first attempt. Next time, I might add a bit of butter or some sage to make the pasta richer. In this version, I used olive oil to make it a bit healthier than the restaurant dish.

1 package of your favorite pasta (I used whole wheat spaghetti because it's what we had on hand.)
Salted, boiling water

Extra virgin olive oil
2 medium sized shallots, diced
1 clove garlic, diced
2 zucchinis, cut into 1/2 inch wedges
1 cup of snap (or snow) peas, julienned
1 cup butternut squash or yams, cut into 1/2 inch cubes

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese and some for garnish
3 sprigs of basil, julienned
Salt and pepper to taste

Put a pot of salted water on the stove to boil. Once boiling, add pasta. When the pasta is finished, drain in a colander and then return the pasta to the hot pot. Add about 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the pasta and mix well. Add the 1/2 cut of freshly grated Parmesan cheese to the pasta and mix once more. Set aside.

While water is coming to a boil and the pasta is cooking, prep your veggies. Add about 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a large-sized skillet, and allow the pan to heat. Add butternut squash cubes to pan in a single layer. With heat on medium-high, cover the pan, and allow the squash to steam for about 4-5 minutes. Check squash. It should be toasted on the bottom and soft to pierce with a toothpick. Allow squash to cook another 2 minutes uncovered or until done. Salt and pepper to taste, and set aside in a small bowl.

Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the same skillet once the squash is removed. Put the pan back over the heat, and add the chopped shallots and garlic. Cook the shallots and garlic over medium-low heat until translucent then add the zucchini to the pan. Cook the zucchini for about 3 minutes or until done. Do not overcook - zucchini should be firm but juicy. Add the julienned snap peas to the pan, and cook for about 2 minutes.

Next, dump the pasta into the pan with the shallot, garlic, zucchini, and snap peas. Mix well over low heat. Add the butternut squash cubes to the mixture and then turn off the heat. Add the julienned basil to the pan, and mix once more. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve with extra Parmesan for garnish. Viola!

Serves 4.

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