Pasta Primavera

28 03 2012

I have become a gym rat. Not an over-committed, beefed-up zoomba nutzo, but I frequent the gym 3-4 times a week, in my first real attempt to get in shape. I have finally realized that you cannot eat your way to good health. You actually have to move sometimes. Ugghhhhhh.

So with some encouragement from my boyfriend, who just ran his first 5k this weekend, I went for a run. I’ve used an elliptical and a treadmill, but I have never put foot to pavement and gone for a real run. It started off…weird. Am I running towards something? Is someone chasing me? I became extremely self-conscious that every car that drove by knew I was an out-of-shape ass going on her first jog. Hands over mouths, stifling laughter, pointing, confident in their perfect physique.

I ran on. A mile and a half. Felt great afterwards. Alive, even. Day after, dead. I feel like I’m in the initial stages of Lou Gehrigs disease. Like literally, I cannot lift my legs.

UPDATE: Day after running and not being able to move legs, I wake up in the middle of the night with a 100 degree fever and an awesome case of night terrors/violent shivers.

Conclusion: Running is either terrible for the body or it purged some sort of demon inside of me. If I feel great tomorrow, then the latter is true. If I don’t feel better, then I give up and it’s donuts for breakfast because apparently exercise is pure evil.

I suppose I should talk about food now. This cookbook was a Christmas present from my parents during my first year of vegetarianism. Though it’s all pretty simple stuff, it’s still one of my favorites, mainly for the pictures. I love this primavera because it is packed full of veggies and doesn’t make you feel too guilty about eating a bowl full of pasta with cream sauce.

Pasta Primavera
Adapted from Vegetarian Cooking for Dummies

1 tb. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 lb. asparagus, trimmed & cut into 3-in. pieces
1 medium zucchini, sliced and halved
1/2 lb. mushrooms, sliced
1 cup lowfat milk
1/2 cup vegetable broth
3 tbs. fresh basil, chopped
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
2 scallions, chopped
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 lb. hot cooked fettuccine
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Cook the onion and garlic in the oil over medium heat until the onions are translucent, about 7 minutes.

Add the asparagus, zucchini, and mushrooms, cover and cook over medium heat for 5-6 minutes, or until the asparagus is bright green and tender.

Add the milk, broth, and basil and cook over high heat until the liquid boils. Cook for about 3 minutes and then add the peas and scallions. Simmer for 1 minute.

Add the salt and pepper, and then add the pasta and cheese, tossing until the ingredients are well mixed. Serve immediately topped with a little more Parmesan.

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Tomato-Basil Lasagna Spirals

1 04 2011

I love checking off a movie classic that I finally get around to seeing a little bit too late. I had never seen the movie Alien so Ryan proposed a dinner/movie night. Netflix and vegan lasagna, how middle-class! I thought a chunky red tomato sauce would pair nicely with watching people being eviscerated by space creatures, but turns out, the movie doesn’t play out as the typical gory movie of modern day, and instead, relies more on suspense. You barely even see the damn Alien. Who woulda known. Apparently everyone else who saw the movie twenty years ago. Oh well.

Highlight of the night though, the creamy filling of this lasagna. Oh my lord. Eat it with a spoon-good. The sun-dried tomatoes and pesto add such a savory depth of flavor, with just a tiny kick of heat from the pinch of cayenne. You can hardly believe that it’s tofu and not some heavy cheese/egg blend.

The only thing I really changed is to double the amount of sauce, otherwise there wouldn’t be any left for plating or for leftovers the next day.

Tomato-Basil Lasagna Spirals
Adapted from Vegan Planet

2 tbs. olive oil
4 shallots, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 Box tofu, drained & crumbled
2 tbs. sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup pesto
1/3 cup bread crumbs
1 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. cayenne
3 tbs. tomato paste
1/4 cup red wine
One 28-oz. can plum tomatoes, chopped
Salt and pepper
1/3 cup fresh basil leaves, minced
12 whole wheat lasagna noodles
Whole fresh basil leaves for garnish

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add half of the shallots and all of the garlic, cover and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a food processor and add the tofu, sun-dried tomatoes, pesto, bread crumbs, salt and cayenne. Process until smooth then refridgerate for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a medium-size saucepan over medium heat. Add the remaining shallots and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in the tomato paste. Remove from heat and add the wine. Return to heat and add tomatoes and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 10 minutes then stir in the minced basil. Reduce the heat to low and keep warm.

Cook the lasagna noodles in a large pot of boiling salted water, until al dente, about 10 minutes. Drain the noodles and spread out on a work surface to prevent them from sticking together. Pat dry.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Divide the filling among the noodles, spreading evenly over the surface of each noodle. Roll each one up tightly into a spiral-shaped roll. Place seam side down in a lightly oiled baking dish. Cover the rolls with 1 cup of tomato sauce. Cover with foil and bake for about 20 minutes.

To serve, spread a small amount of warm sauce on each plate and stand 2-3 rolls upright on the sauce. Spoon the remaining sauce over the rolls and garnish with the whole basil leaves. Serve with warm focaccia bread and roasted asparagus.