Meaty Veggie Pasta

So this is a recipe put together with a little guidance from a recipe plus an understanding of veggies and mushrooms, and a sprinkle of culinary brilliance from Bon Appetit. Just to make you sweat a bit before giving you the recipe – the final result is a meaty, cheese-infused pasta dish that is completely vegetarian (though you should note the cheese is real). The meaty-ness is achieved through using dense vegetables and mushrooms. It looks like comfort food (I dare you to make this look pretty and organized) and tastes like it without the rock-in-the-stomach feeling later.

I’m going to give Bon Appetit credit for this recipe’s beauty as a cohesive mass before going into the full recipe because this is an integral part in bringing all the flavors together without leaving blank spots. BA calls this handy how-to “How to Make Perfect Pasta.” I didn’t use all 10 steps, but the important part is the big skillet pan. To get the ‘sauce’ all over and in the pasta, using tongs to incorporate all the ingredients is key. They have some good photos depicting the technique for those of you who are already sick of reading. Recipe time.

(Very) Loosely adapted from “Skillet Parmesan Zucchini” by Kraft Foods

Ingredients

1/2 lb fettucini noodles, uncooked

1 red pepper, coarsely chopped

1 medium (or 1/2 super large) onion, chopped

3/4 lb (3 small zucchini) sliced – I had mine at about 1/2 inch

6-8 oz mushroom, chopped

3/4 cup marinara sauce

3/4 cup mozzarella cheese, shreaded

‘good pinch’ parmesan cheese, grated

Preparation

  1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and chop vegetables/mushrooms. Also bring water to boil for pasta. Add salt to water to taste.
  2. Cook and stir pepper and mushroom in large skillet for about 5 minutes. Add in pasta when water is boiling. ** Do not drain off pasta water, it will be used later.
  3. Add in mushrooms and continue to stir for a couple minutes.
  4. Follow the mushrooms with zucchini and stir for another couple of minutes.
  5. Pour in marinara sauce and cover pan. Stir occasionally, letting it simmer until vegetables are ‘crisp-tender,’ about 8 minutes.
  6. Add in pasta water, 1/2 cup at a time (only to about 1 1/2 cups) to help thicken sauce.
  7. Add in cheeses. Here’s where you really need to watch and be attentive – stir in cheese to vegetable sauce. Keep the ingredients moving so cheese does not burn to the bottom.
  8. Add pasta into skillet pan. With tongs, begin integrating the pasta into the sauce. You can dump the pasta water now.
  9. While stirring, add salt and pepper to taste preferences.

Enjoy!

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