Happy New Year!
First off, one of my new years resolutions for 2012 is to update this blog more often. I love to cook, I pretty much ALWAYS take pictures of my food (because I am a freak) and I enjoy writing about it so why not? I think I said a minimum of twice a week so here is entry number one! I was lucky enough to receive a Canon Rebel T3i for Christmas and I think this will inspire me to post more often as I’ll have better pictures of my food. Cut me a little slack for a while though as I am still getting used to the camera. So far I am pretty much using the auto setting but with manual focus. Anyone have any tips and/or tricks?
Anyway, like most people I went totally overboard in the indulging department over the holidays and am feeling a little bit gross. After a blurry NYE party and a New Years Day spent in pjs on the couch with a big order of Chinese food, my husband and I were craving some healthy grub to kick off 2012.
Just before Christmas we’d stopped by the 99 Sudbury Winter Market and picked up a jar of Mr.Spinner’s Kale and Dandelion Pesto to try. Unfortunately I can’t seem to find too much information about this guy online aside from this contact number – a shame because I now need to buy MORE of this delicious, healthy, vegan pesto.
I googled around looking for a way to make it into a creamy, dairy-free sauce and decided on this recipe from Whole Foods. I modified it to suit the ingredients I had on hand and came up with a delicious bowl of rotini and veggies in a tasty sauce.
Here’s the my version of the recipe:
Veggie Rotini with Creamy Vegan Pesto
(serves 6, or 1 wife, 1 husband who has 3 bowls for dinner and 2 portions for lunch leftovers)
2 or more TBSP of jarred, dairy-free pesto (Mr.Spinners Kale and Dandelion pesto if you can get your hands on it, otherwise follow the Whole Foods recipe to make your own from scratch)
1 TBSP olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon whole wheat flour
1/3 cup soy milk
1/3 cup vegetable broth
1/2 box dried whole wheat rotini or pasta of choice (I had to throw in some penne too because I didn’t have enough rotini)
1 pint cherry tomatoes, sliced and set aside for garnish
1/2 cup baby carrots, sliced into rounds
1 small zucchini, sliced
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
Handful of raw spinach, torn up or roughly chopped
Start preparing your pasta according to the package directions. In a pot, whisk together 1 TBSP olive oil, 1 TSP whole wheat flour, salt and pepper over medium heat for about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and add your soy milk a little at a time, whisking constantly, until incorporated. Reduce heat to medium low and return the saucepan to the heat. Slowly whisk in broth and simmer until sauce thickens slightly, about 6 minutes. Add pesto mixture, whisking until thoroughly blended and heated through but make sure you do not bring the sauce to a boil. I wanted my sauce to be a little bit thinner so I also added several tablespoons of the boiling pasta water and whisked into the sauce.
Spray a small pan with cooking spray and give your veggies (all except for the cherry tomatoes and spinach) a quick sautee. Pour in a little bit of water (maybe 1/4 cup) and cover with a lid so the veggies get a bit of a steam (They should remain bright in color aside from the mushrooms, obviously). Add the spinach in the last 30-40 seconds of “steaming” just to wilt it a little. Drain your pasta and return it to it’s pot. Pour your sauce over the pasta and add in your vegetables, toss to coat. Plate your pasta and add the sliced cherry tomatoes on top, along with a few grinds of freshly cracked black pepper. Enjoy!