Speed Dinners: Mediterranean Pasta with Basil and Artichokes
I’m pretty sure I couldn’t shoehorn another thing into my day. Or I could and then you’d never hear from me again. My days are just that long and full of crap to do. I’m sure you all know what I’m talking about. I’m also sure you’re familiar with the feeling of wanting to eat your own liver rather than make dinner. I know I am. By the time the end of the day rolls around for me, I’m wiped and cooking dinner feels like a challenge. It’s why Ceri and I try to give parents (and ourselves) a rotation of fast, nutritious meals that come together easily.
This dish is one of those meals. The chopping is the most labor intensive part of it. However, its the kind of chopping that you can motor through. It’s not the dice-ten-things-into-perfect-little-pieces-all-the-same-size-until-you-have-an-aneurism kind of chopping. It’s rough and throw-it-in-the-pan chopping. Plus, you could easily sub-in a can of diced tomatoes instead of fresh. Also, if you’re missing one of the veggies, any vegetable you have in the refrigerator will work as well. In other words, you likely have a lot of these ingredients on-hand. The only thing you can’t do without (in my opinion) is the fresh basil. So, if you don’t have any, call your partner right now and tell them to pick it up on the way home. After all, you’re doing the cooking.
Mediterranean Pasta with Basil and Artichokes
2 red pepper, seeded and cut into wedges
1 red onion, cut into wedges
3 cloves garlic, coarsley chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 can artichoke hearts, drained, rinsed, and quartered lengthwise
3 small ripe tomatoes, quartered
A handful of fresh basil leaves
3 tablespoons of parmesan
1/2 lb dry pasta
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Scatter the peppers, red onion and garlic in a large roasting tin.
Sprinkle with sugar, drizzle over the oil and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Roast for 15 minutes, toss in the tomatoes and artichokes and roast for another 15 minutes until everything is soft and golden brown.
While the vegetables are roasting, cook the pasta in a large saucepan of salted boiling water. Cook according to package instructions. Drain well.
Remove the vegetables from the oven, tip in the pasta and toss lightly.
Tear the basil leaves on top and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
I gave Scarlett the day off when I made this dish as it was her birthday. Plus she’d helped the night before with her big birthday dinner of lamb. (Yes, the kid chose lamb for her family party.) I can’t make her cook all her birthday meals. However, I can make her cook all my birthday meals.
Since she fancies herself a chef, Scarlett usually has a lot to say about a meal. This was no exception even though she didn’t cook it. In fact, everyone did. My parents loved it and Scarlett finished her plate. Twice. That must have been her birthday present to me.
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