I just want a simple vegetable dinner!
Generally after a period of indulgence, follows a craving for something healthy and simple, yet still tasty. Like this week, when I couldn’t handle the thought of any more meat, sugar or heavy sauces. Not so the kids, who I managed to keep happy with some left over beef curry and rice. But for me, vegetables were calling, zucchinis and capsicums (bell peppers) to be exact. Normally I would have either turned them into some ratatouille-like dish or grilled them on the BBQ. But that would have involved too much for a person who felt like soup or steamed vegies. Then I found the perfect compromise with a Tom Colicchio’s recipe for Zucchini with nicoise olives and burrata. Dainty little cubes of zucchini were stewed in just enough water to cover them and a dash of olive oil to bring out their flavour. I loved that cooking method. I adapted the original recipe to include what I had on hand (red and yellow capsicums, fresh mozzarella, mint) and didn’t worry about the olives and the squash blossom (not a staple in my pantry I’m afraid), cooked some penne for extra sustenance, and voila! The perfect Tuesday night vegetarian dinner, if you ask me.
* This is also very good the next day as a cold pasta salad. Perfect for lunchbox.
** For extra flavour, you can add pesto, sun-dried tomato paste, or tapenade.
Pasta with Zucchini, Capsicum and Mozzarella
5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 large zucchini – cut into 1/3” dice
1 red capsicum – cut into 1/3” dice
1 yellow capsicum – cut into 1/3” dice
½ tsp dried Italian herbs
Salt and pepper
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
250g fresh mozzarella – cut in 1” dice
Fresh mint leaves for garnish
400g penne pasta
- In a large skillet, heat 1 tbsp of olive oil, add 1/3 of the vegetables, a pinch of salt, a pinch of dried Italian herbs and ¼ cup of water. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionnaly until the vegetables are barely tender and the water has evaporated (approx. 5mn) Transfer the vegetables to a large bowl. Repeat the procedure twice more with the remaining olive oil, vegetables, dried herbs and salt. Add ¼ cup water to each batch.
- In a large saucepan, cook the penne in salted water as per packet directions
- Toss the hot pasta with the vegetables, lemon juice and the remaining 2 tbsp of olive oil.
- Sprinkle the mozzarella over the pasta and vegies, garnish with the mint leaves.