Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Rigatoni Primavera

Basil, salt, carrots, spice, carbs, and cheese. These are a few of my favorite things. I kid you not, I could eat this dish every day. Here's how it breaks down:

The main ingredient of this meal is a given: Carbs. I may be a girl, but really... Who doesn't love pasta? 

The star of this meal: a certain green herb that I can't seem to get enough of. And no, it's not what you're thinking. I'm talking about basil. I could put it on top of anything... and I do! I love it. Love. (I even tried basil gelato in Rome, which I'd probably only trust the Italians to do right. It was amazing). 

Go ahead and add ice cream to my list of vices. 

Then there's carrots. I'm not sure if cooked carrots were a childhood favorite of mine, but for some reason, I could have cooked carrots every night for the rest of my life. They're just so good! I realize it's a little weird that a 20-year-old college student is obsessed with carrots, but I can bet that my kindergarten homies would all agree on the simple fact that carrots are just yummy... 

...with a dash of salt. I hate to admit it, but I may be a salt addict. Along with basil, salt goes on just about anything. 

And cheese. Praise Allah that vegan options exist and taste good! You'll probably figure out soon that I rarely make a meal without it. 

Finally, I like things spicy. Not too hot, but just enough to wake up the palette. Whether it's hot sauce, cayenne pepper, or red pepper flakes, a little zip is almost always necessary. 

Put it all together, and you really have the perfect meal. This Rigatoni Primavera is loaded with veggies (and vitamins--woo!), so it's healthy. I like the addition of carrots because it's a little twist compared to traditional pasta dishes, and the basil gives it an addicting freshness. Needless to say, rigatoni and cheese make it a little splurge-worthy, so you could definitely make it with whole wheat pasta or brown rice pasta. But come on, the white stuff is just too good! After all, in life and in diets, perfection can be wearing. 

Rigatoni Primavera
[1/2] lb rigatoni
[3] cups fresh spinach leaves
[1] cup diced carrots, peeled and in quarter-inch pieces
[1] can diced tomatoes 
[1/3] cup yellow onion, chopped
[1] tsp minced garlic 
[1/2] tsp red pepper flakes
[2] tbsp fresh basil; julienned
[1] tbsp olive oil
vegan parmesan
sea salt
cracked black pepper

Cook pasta to package instructions until al dente. Sauté onions in olive oil on medium low heat until tender, then add garlic, salt and pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes then add tomatoes, spinach, carrots, red pepper, and a little more salt. Simmer for 10 minutes, then add pasta and stir to combine. Top with parmesan and lots of fresh basil. Then, understand my obsession. 

The perfect bite. Libby thought so, too.

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