My mum is a pretty good cook – I know I’ve gone on about Mama Oddsocks’ cooking but my mum can hold her own. When I was growing up she had a few standby recipes for those midweek ‘can’t-be-bothered’ nights that were healthy and still tasted great: various stirfrys (her sauces are different to mine now, but they’re the source from whence mine sprung), variations of meat and three veg, and this pasta.
Now, before I go on I need to confess this – I’m a carbophile. The hungrier I get the more I crave straight, white flour carbs. Rice, potatoes, bread, pasta; it’s all good! Most of the time I tend to eat whole food oriented, low GI stuff but when I haven’t got enough of it – carb binge. And I honestly rarely regret it. Like sugar it’s ok in moderation and pasta is something I could never really give up. I have wholewheat and lower GI varieties on hand, but realistically the dried, semolina-based white pasta is always going to be in my cupboard. I’m ok with this.
So, this pasta. Yesterday found me famished. I’m generally pretty good at bringing enough food to get me through a work day, but sometimes I have a tendency to underestimate my food requirements and not bring enough. Yesterday was one of those days. I know I’m hungry at work when my Pinterest browsing turns to food. I know I’m starving when I start trawling through boards of pasta.
So I got home craving pasta. The muffin and banana I had as soon as I walked through the door to try and stop the desperately hungry crash didn’t even hit the sides. So I went to the supermarket, abandoned plans for burritos and bought stuff for making this pasta. It was exactly what I wanted.
And I ate the leftover pasta straight from the saucepan.
I still regret nothing.
Creamy Sundried Tomato Pesto Comfort Pasta
- 1 cup dried pasta of choice
- 3 tbsp sundried tomato pesto
- 3 tbsp greek yoghurt or pouring cream
- 1 tsp crushed garlic
- 1 cup brocolli
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 4-5 cherry or sundried tomatoes
- 1 cup button mushrooms, sliced
- 1/2 cup zucchini, sliced
- 1/2 avocado, sliced
- Olive oil of butter for sauteeing
- Cook pasta according to packet directions
- Sautee onions, mushrooms and garlic in pan until soft and fragrant
- Add brocolli, zucchini, and tomatoes and fry. I usually add a smidge of water (using the pasta water adds something I think but isn’t required) to help the harder vegetables like the brocolli and zucchini along – and I mean a smidge – say, 1-2 tbsp – you don’t want soup!
- Lower the heat, add pesto and yoghurt/cream and warm through. Lowering the heat here helps to prevent the cream curdling – yoghurt will always do it a bit over heat and with acidic things like the tomatoes but it can be lessened!
- Stir sauce through pasta and top with avocado.
- Place yourself in a carbohydrate-filled, guilt-free coma.
Obviously this recipe is easily adaptable – it’s basically a primavera with a twist. I personally think the combination of the sundried tomato pesto and the brocolli is key here, but realistically you can use whatever you have on hand. This is a great cleaning out the “bits” in the fridge recipe. It’s forgiving and there isn’t really a balance of ingredients you can screw up – it doesn’t matter if you only have one mushroom in the entire thing! However, if you’re looking for ideas, common things I add or change are:
- Peas, spinach, chard, broad beans, rocket, miscellaneous greenery or herbs
- Carrots, capsicum (fresh or marinated/charred), eggplant,
- Can of tomatoes – I usually hold the cream if I’m doing this but it’s not required and you can make a nice lightened tomato sauce with both. Another nice touch is chilli flakes or powder – I love this pasta with red lentils, a can of tomatoes, no cream and a touch of chilli.
- Borlotti beans, lima beans, lentils