Something I recently discovered is how fun making on-the-spot pasta recipes can be. There are so many different variables, such as the type of noodle, toppings, sauces, and spices. There are virtually millions of combinations, and there are very few "wrong answers."
If you look to different chefs or recipe books, each has their own take on pasta and what they think will work for them and others. However, many of the recipes seem to "play it safe," and don't explore the unusual flavor combinations that may turn out to be unexpectedly delicious in the end.
The other night I was experimenting with what would make a fun, more daring, yet still universally likable pasta recipe. I ended up with a mixture of shredded carrot, zucchini and squash "coins" (cut into small circles, about .5 inch diameter), mushrooms, and tomato sauce with sesame seeds, a bit of basil, and a pinch of salt and pepper on top, all over quinoa shell noodles.
Hold on- why did I choose noodles made of quinoa? Well, although it may at some times not seem like it, part of the purpose of this blog was to provide healthy suggestions to incorporate into your everyday life. Actually, quinoa pasta (I used the Banza brand specifically which I highly recommend) is pretty good and not as dry as you might think (although of course having other ingredients to enhance it helps mask the little dryness there), and is high in fiber and very nutritious. Also, for this dish specifically I wanted a bit chewier noodle to contrast the crunchiness of most of the vegetables to achieve some texture variety.
How to replicate this dish: fairly simple!
1. Boil the amount of water specified on the box.
2. While the water heats, put the shredded carrots and cut zucchini and squash "coins" in a pan and cook on low-medium heat. Add the mushrooms a few minutes later.
3. Add the pasta into the boiled water.
4. Heat up the tomato sauce.
5. Put it all on a plate, then sprinkle on some salt, pepper, basil, and sesame seeds, or whatever spices or add-ons you'd like to make it your own.
(I'm fairly certain this version is vegan, so those who are not vegan and want to "up" the protein a little more should add some parmesan, shrimp, and/or chicken, which are the best with this dish.)
A high schooler with a love of food. See the My Story page to find out more.