Saturday, March 28, 2009

Good Luck to Lina Penne Primavera


I've been friends with Lina for as long as I can remember. We were even born two weeks apart in the same hospital. She is beautiful inside and out -- bubbly, bright, loving, and engaging. Tomorrow Lina is running a 10K and then a half marathon next week, and I've been following her training regime on Facebook. I'm a big fan! While I can't run like she can, I can honor her by making this lean and carb-rich pasta on the eve of her race day.

2 tbs. olive oil
1/2 large onion, finely chopped
1 shallot, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup each of the following vegetables:
Red bell pepper, cut into matchsticks
Mushrooms, sliced
Asparagus, cut into 1 1/2-2 inch pieces
Yellow zucchini, cut into matchsticks
Grape tomatoes, cut in half

3/4 lb. penne pasta

1/2 cup white wine
3/4 cup chicken or vegetable broth (or more)
1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
Salt and pepper

Flour

Fresh parsley, minced
Grated parmigiano reggiano cheese

Mise en place

Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to boil. Add penne and cook according to the directions and until just al dente and even a tad underdone. This should take about 11-12 minutes. Ideally, you want your pasta to finish cooking in the sauce.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat until hot. Add 2 tbs. of oil. Add and cook onions until transparent, about 5 minutes. Add minced shallot and garlic cloves, cooking for another minute, watching carefully that they don't burn (turn down or add veggies if this happens). Add salt, pepper, and italian seasoning to the onions, garlic and shallots. Add all vegetables except grape tomatoes and bring up to medium high heat, adding a little more olive oil if you need it to saute the vegetables. Saute veggies for two minutes and then add white wine and let white wine reduce for a minute. Add salt and pepper to the veggies.

Take a couple spoonfuls of flour and sprinkle over veggie mixture. Add chicken broth and mix together, letting the sauce thicken. The veggies at this point should still be crisp-tender.

The pasta should be about done when your sauce is completed. Strain pasta (don't rinse it) and add the pasta directly to the sauce, stirring to combine the pasta and sauce together. Let the pasta cook another minute or so in the sauce so it absorbs the flavors and finishes cooking. Add a little more broth if needed. Add grated parmesan cheese to taste, as well as fresh parsley. Taste and adjust seasonings. Enjoy.