Whip it up #1 – Summer Pasta

It’s just a few hours into sugar-free July, and I’m still managing okay. I already made one snafu, I accidentally bought vanilla flavored rice milk, because the box looks deceptively like the enriched rice milk that I usually get. I’ve never liked the vanilla stuff to begin with, it’s too sugary. Oh well, I guess I’ll make a couple of big bowls of oatmeal (without sugar, eek!) and use it up quick. For food today, I have cottage cheese as a snack, leftover pasta for lunch (see below) and a mango for dessert. Having finished up all the ice cream last night, there is no sugary temptation for me at home.

And for those of you who can’t believe it, I can probably give up ice cream for a month, as long as it’s not that preciously short month where the ice cream shops make pumpkin ice cream available. At that point, there’s no holding me back.

Last night I completed the first assignment for “Whip It Up,” an internet challenge to make a new recipe at least once a week, and post the results.

I just went over to RA’s Whip it Up page so I could speak intelligently about the topic, when I realized that I might have started the challenge a tad early. Does “the week of July 6” mean starting on July 6 or ending on July 6? I’m not certain, but what’s done is done. I made pasta last night.

The challenge for me was finding a pasta dish that I hadn’t already made, since pasta is a two times or more a week affair in my cottage. I also decided that I’m going to make all my recipes vegan, since that’s the kind of diet to which I aspire. After going through a few of the cookbooks I’ve amassed, the best recipe came from (sigh) Skinny Bitch In the Kitch. While I don’t like the implications of going vegan to become a waif, they do have some good recipes in there. (And thanks again to The Grey Boy for making me the proud owner of this tome.)

RECIPE: Summer Pasta

Serves 1, four times

  • 3 quarts water (or you know, just fill your pot.)
  • 5 tsp. fine sea salt (this is an ingredient I usually skip, but I was glad I didn’t this time.)
  • 8 ounces whole wheat or brown rice linguine or fettuccine (I used whole wheat rotini, and I should have just used the whole box.)
  • 1/4 cup refined coconut oil (the skinny bitch girls have a theory that heating olive oil releases free radicals and should not be used in cooking. I have a theory that coconut oil is too damn expensive, and I therefore used olive oil, free radicals be damned.)
  • 6 shallots, thinly sliced. (Bring a tissue, these puppies will bring tears to your eyes.)
  • 1 zucchini, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • 1 yellow squash, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 2 pounds tomatoes – red, yellow, or a combo – seeded and cut into coarse 1/4 inch dice (I hate seeding tomatoes, but if you don’t everything gets totally watery.)
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced fresh basil leaves (One of the few things in my backyard not eaten by deer.)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano (Another thing the deer spared.)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 to 2 tbsp vegan Parmesan (optional) (I opted out, I can’t stand fake cheese.)

Man, I got to get a better camera.

METHOD:

(Cut the vegetables first, because it takes 30-40 minutes to do so.) In a 4-6 quart stockpot over high heat, combine the water with about 1 1/2 tablespoons of the salt. Bring the water to a boil, add the the pasta, and cook according to the package directions.

Meanwhile, heat the coconut (or whatever) oil in a 10-12 inch skillet over medium high heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes. Add the zucchini, squash, garlic, pepper and the reamaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, about 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and add the tomatoes, basil, and oregano, stirring until the tomatoes are heated through, about 2 minutes.

When the pasta is done, drain it. Transfer the pasta to plates or a platter and top with the tomato mixture. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with Parmesan, if using, and serve.

Compliments a Michelob Ultra (the official beer of the weekend warrior) or whatever else was on sale at Stop & Shop because you were too hot and/or lazy to make a special trip to the wine store.

UPDATE: Just had some leftovers for lunch, and it’s just as good cold as it was hot.  This one’s a keeper!  Also, I would think about adding some carrots to it next time.

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24 responses to this post.

  1. Mmm…that looks so fresh and tasty. Also, I’m so with you on the whole olive vs. coconut oil thing.

    I’d buy coconut oil if it was my only grocery shopping for the week.

  2. Posted by nancypearlwannabe on July 1, 2008 at 9:51 am

    Errr… I totally made my pasta thing last night, too. I guess I’ll just post it on the sixth!

    Yours looks delicious, but may I suggest trying the Miller Chill next time? I love the lime and salt combo in the beer. Corona is so 2002.

    I just learned about the Miller Chill the other day. But alas, it was not at Stop & Shop on Sunday.

  3. Sorry; you lost me at the “takes 30 or 40 minutes to do so” part. Also, dicing a tomato without the seeds is one of the few cooking-related things I DO know how to do! You might recall I blogged about that Google-venture last year. Anyway, here:

    http://mexicanfood.about.com/od/techniques/ss/seedtomato.htm

    That’s one of those things I learned how to do, but forgot where I learned it! You should have seen some of my cooking disasters of the past when I cut corners by not seeding the tomatoes, because 30-40 minutes is too long indeed.

  4. Did my comment get rejected because I had the nerve to include a URL in it? I would retype, but then if it shows up later, I’ll just feel like a tool.

    Oh! But there was one other thing I forgot to include in my vanishing comment! I love that your instructions say “Serves 1, four times.” More people should post recipes from the single girl’s perspective. 🙂

    WordPress has been hiccuping lately, but I didn’t see your comment come through.

  5. “Serves 1, four times” – love it!

    I’m glad it got noticed!

  6. um yum! i’m going to have to check out that skinny bitch broad too.

    If you read through all their BS, there’s some good advice.

  7. That looks so yummy! My favorite part of your pictures are the mini liquor bottles. Classic!

    Those are my salt and pepper shakers!

  8. Posted by lizgwiz on July 1, 2008 at 10:44 am

    That sounds yummy. It also sounds a lot like the “recipe” I created on the fly last week with my own fresh basil and oregano. (My tomatoes may never bear fruit, but my basil is going crazy.)

    Herbs are disgustingly easier to deal with.

  9. OOh! Looks good! I have some rice pasta I haven’t earmarked for anything yet. Ew. Earmarked and pasta aren’t words that should go together, I think.

    I think you’re right about that.

  10. Oprah has made being a Vegan cool. I never thought I’d see the day.

    And here I thought it was Pam Anderson who made it cool.

  11. Yum!

    I love the photos and your salt and pepper shakers!

    You get an A+ on presentation!

    Thanks, I try!

  12. Wow, I’m definitely trying. Thanks for sharing.

    You’re welcome.

  13. Looks good.

    I especially love the mini bottles of booze.

    I don’t know if I made it clear enough that they are my condiments…

  14. talking about weight and diets and such can be awkward, so I’ll just blurt this out – pasta is not really that good for you. maybe once a week or every other week, fine, but twice, not so much.

    and a lot of the whole wheat pastas that one would think are healthier for you are…not. check the ingredients and see how much sugar they put in it. this turns immediately into stared fats that a body doesn’t use up as quickly as sugar from say…fruit.

    just a tip.

    Oh trust me, I know that about the pasta. That’s why I gave it up in April. It’s a staple food in my life. I might not have started with pasta, but that was the challenge topic of this week’s Whip it Up, so I felt inclined to do so. Generally, I’m trying to eat less of it, but when I want dinner in under 10 minutes, it’s my go-to meal.

  15. Posted by Sarah on July 1, 2008 at 1:08 pm

    You are a Whip It Up ratebuster. The pasta dish looks colorful and delicious.

    I try and do my little best.

  16. Yum! I’ll give this one a try for sure.

    Let me know how it goes when you do!

  17. Pumpkin ice cream. . .sigh. Thanks for the recipe! And great pictures!

    In a perfect world, pumpkin ice cream would be available every day. (And I would be 50 pounds heavier.)

  18. I love that cookbook! The pasta looks great, I’ll have to give it a try.

    it’s only the second thing I made from the cookbook, this one was better than the last one.

  19. Posted by supersobe on July 1, 2008 at 9:33 pm

    That sounds good – I like to cook with Ramen!

    And I like to drink whiskey. I like 400yr old Bushmills.

    Now that June’s over, I can freely break out the Ramen again. And I’m a whiskey lover, too, it’s just not that thirst-quenching…

  20. delurking to say I did this very same thing back in January….. it was very hard the first few days but then….. I started to feel different. I’ve always been a vegetarian, but to become vegan (and I quit wheat too.) was hard.

    Anyhoo, good luck and thanks for the recipes.

    Thanks for stopping by! And I agree, the first few days without sugar is hard, and then you eat some, and feel gross, and then it’s a little easier.

  21. Free the radicals! Free the radicals!

    He he!

  22. It looks like SOMEONE is trying to be a teacher’s pet! Heh. Just kidding!

    This dish looks awesome, and I love it when leftovers live up to the original deal.

  23. This looks GREAT!

  24. Having a hard time focusing on anything but the Ultra. This is the sad thing. I like fruity little drinks and occasionally buy wine coolers. Kool Aid with alcohol…MMMMM. BUT, the darn things make my Gall Bladder sieze up or something. Painful!

    I can drink all the beer that I want (or that my husband keeps putting in my hand so that he can hear the Southern Girl Mating Call… I am SO drunk). But BEER? In the South, it makes us seem so… Un Belle like. So I am a designated driver and occasional closet beer drinker. That pic is making me feel the occasion.

    That food looks suspiciously healthy.

    Jen

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