I tried to figure out a clever way to make my title an alliteration, but I couldn’t pull it off. Sorry, lovers of figurative language.
I am a fan of summer vegetables, and squash and zucchini are certainly among my favorites. When I think of squash, though, I have to stop myself from thinking of those horrifying autumn gourds that look like they’re diseased and will give you and disease if you touch them or think about them too long. I had some leftover farmer’s market swag from last week and had enough to make Poor Girl Eats Well’s Simple Summer Squash Pasta.
A few things before we get started:
1) As an English teacher I am required to appreciate any recipe that uses alliteration.
2) Poor Girl Eat Well is definitely my favorite recipe blog of the moment. I am one year out of a bankruptcy, and while I’m financially comfortable for the first time in… ever, really, thanks to the bankruptcy, I’m still cautious about money. And, as a teacher, I don’t have much of it anyway. So I really appreciate that there is a recipe blog that doesn’t use really expensive ingredients all the time.
3) I love carbohydrates.
Damn! These vegetables are so... fresh! Snap!
So I’m off to a good start with this recipe. The ingredient list is very short, thankfully, and that’s most of the reason it’s so inexpensive to make. The original recipe calls for grape or cherry tomatoes, but I had these huge beautiful tomatoes to use instead, so I just chopped the tomatoes up into smaller pieces.
I also use pre-chopped garlic. Listen, I know this blog is not scoring points for being gourmet, and I don’t intend for it to be. I’m an amateur cook who is also a bachelor living in a studio apartment with a thimble sized kitchen. I cut corners sometimes. And I still get the flavor of garlic but, admittedly, not as much as fresh garlic would have provided. I recommend, if possible, you use actual garlic.
The recipe also doesn’t specifically call for wheat pasta (actually it calls for cavatappi if possible), but I couldn’t find it in wheat. I’m a big proponent of using wheat substitutes if possible, but a lot of that is due to my own health. Several years ago I had a super gross health problem I won’t go into that had my doctor recommending more fiber in my diet. And wheat provides “good” carbs I guess, so using wheat when possible is something I like to do. Feel free to use good ol’ regular pasta. As far as this recipe goes, I actually think some angel hair would be really delicious as well!
I started by boiling the water and getting things ready to go.
My pasta pot setup.
As the water boiled I chopped my vegetables. I decided to just chop the tomatoes up into big chunks, leaving in a lot of the seeds and whatever that slimy thick stuff that’s in tomatoes is. I did that knowing this pasta dish didn’t have a traditional sauce on it, and I hoped the liquid would help. Here’s my veggie action:
Choppin' broccoli... wait, no...
The pasta was cooking while I did this. As previously mentioned, I used wheat pasta. When one thinks of wheat products, perhaps they are turned off by gross wheat things that were in the past. Cardboard textured breads or overwhelmingly blah tasting pasta, or whatever. Anyway, my first official product review on New (f)Attitude is Ronzoni’s Healthy Harvest pasta:
A healthy harvest without a Shirley Jackson inspired murder lottery!
I suppose, looking at this photo now, it’s “whole grain” rather than wheat, but whatever. You know what I mean.
The Healthy Harvest pasta is relatively inexpensive, although more expensive than the old-fashioned stuff. The health benefits are worth it though. The taste of the pasta was slightly nutty and the texture was hearty and not grainy like wheat products sometimes are. I really liked it in this recipe and would use it again. Reccommended!
While the pasta cooked I sauteed the veggies, starting with the squash and zucchini. My skillet is too small, so I actually didn’t add the tomatoes until the very end in the pasta pot where I combined all of the ingredients. I drizzled in maybe 2 teaspoons of olive oil and the pasta came together beautifully. The tomato guts I left in there really helped bind the whole meal together. The original recipe calls for basil, which I didn’t have, but would have certainly been a delicious addition. The biggest note I can highlight from the original recipe is to really season this well with salt and pepper. The salt brings out the liquid in the veggies and continues to help bind the meal together. Here it is!
Looks good, tastes good!
So, the official review:
Taste: As mentioned, I just love squash and zucchini, so I liked those things in here very much. I would actually cook them for a smidge longer than the recipe calls for (and I did) because I love when they get nice and brown! The richness of the pasta was not overpowering in the least. The salt and pepper was necessary- otherwise it would have been a pretty blah dish. Grade: A-.
Ease of cooking: Incredibly simple. Just chopping and sauteeing the veggies and cooking the pasta. Nothing complicated or crazy. Grade: A.
Amount of clean-up: Not too much, but a little more than such a simple dish should supply. The knife, cutting board, skillet, and pasta pot were really it, but the tomato is sloppy. Listen, this sounds super lazy, I know. This is still a really easy recipe to deal with. Grade: A-.
Value: The PGEW page says this recipe is $1.15/serving, and it makes 4-6 servings. If you were using this as a side dish, that would be true, but because I used it as my meal, I’ll probably get three servings out of it, making that cost go up a little. It’s still ridiculously cheap. And healthy! Grade: A.
Overall grade: A. This recipe is easy, healthy, and delicious. It’s also super versatile and could have any number of vegetables added into, or even some protein to make it more of a full meal. This is definitely one I’ll make again!
Are there any recipes you’ve been thinking of trying but would like this fat dude in the midwest to try first? Leave me a link in the comments! Thanks for reading!