Vegetable Pasta is the kind of meal that happens in our house when I'm staring down a refrigerator full of of produce and I'm running out of time to use it all. There aren't many things in the kitchen that annoy me more than wasting food, so I try to do everything I can to avoid letting produce go to waste. Pastas and Stir Fries are two of the best ways to use up odds and ends from the refrigerator.
Here are a few more ideas to make the most of your vegetables:
COOK'S NOTE: If you have a deep, flat skillet, it is ideal for making this sauce. A dutch oven, a large pot, or just about any big pan will work. I am partial to using my biggest skillet for this sauce.
For this recipe, you'll want to cook the mushrooms first, remove them from the pan and then add them back into the sauce at the very end. It keeps them separate and slightly firm, creating a more meat-y taste and texture.
Yield: 8 servings
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 pounds small mushrooms, quartered
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 pound ground beef
1 medium yellow onion, chopped small
4 large cloves garlic, minced
1 large red bell pepper, chopped small
1/2 pound asparagus, cut into 1" pieces
(2) 29 ounce cans of crushed tomatoes
1 1/2 teaspoons crushed oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 - 1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 crushed red pepper flakes
16 ounces cooked pasta noodles
Optional: grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese for topping
Warm the oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the mushrooms and toss to coat. Let them cook undisturbed for about 30 seconds, sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, continue to cook, stirring frequently until the mushrooms are fragrant, about 3-4 minutes. Remove the mushrooms to a small bowl and add the ground beef to the hot pan.
Reduce the heat to medium high. Cook and crumble the beef, add the garlic and onions. Continue cooking until the onions have softened. Add the peppers and cook 2 more minutes before adding the asparagus, tomatoes, and spices. Stir and cover with a lid. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until the asparagus is tender and still sightly crisp. Remove from the heat and stir the cooked pasta into the sauce. Enjoy!
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