Wednesday, August 6, 2008
While watching TV awhile ago, I saw a cooking show using lentils and pasta. Nice idea. I looked around and realized that I had bought some yellow lentils the other day, I just didn't have a plan for them. Now I did.
This dish came from part inspiration and part TV cooking show. Of course, it's GF, as always. But these days I'm trying to use more ingredients that are good for you with protein, vitamins, etc. I think it's important to try and eat as healthy as possible these days, why not give your body a boost? I looked in the fridge and came up with a plan, pasta with lentils, tomatoes, onions and greens. Not only would this be good for you, but it had to be tasty as well with all these good things.
One thing I learned from my friend Linda many years ago was to use bagged salad for other things. She made a wonderful pasta dish using just caramelized onions, leeks and a bag of mixed greens for salad. They add a great texture and flavor. And it's a quick thing to add to any pasta dish for a bit of color and pizazz.
The name Confetti Pasta came from my husband, who remarked how beautiful it was. He then ate a bowl of it and said it was the best thing I'd cooked for him. He gave it a 9 because, as he explained, if he gave it a 10 I would get a big head. Isn't he precious?
I love this dish because it's so beautiful, colorful and inviting. Of course, as always, feel free to improvise with anything else you have in the house. Add any veggies you want. It's already a rainbow of colors, adding zucchini or eggplant would just add to the colors, or even sun-dried tomatoes or roasted red peppers.
1 bag TJ's brown rice penne
1 medium sweet onion, chopped
1 bunch of greens, chopped. I use 1/2 a bag of baby greens with arugula, spinach, etc.
3/4 cup yellow lentils
3 roma tomatoes, chopped
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp chopped basil
1/2 cup veggie broth
1 1/2 cup water
1. Start water to boil for pasta. When water boils, cook as directed. Be careful with the penne, it tends to stick together when you first put it in the water. Make sure to salt the water well and stir for the first minute or so. I also add some olive oil to the water to make it less sticky.
2. Add lentils to water and broth in a separate pot and simmer for about 20 minutes. Check for doneness at 20 minutes and decide if you need more time. Also, keep some water handy in case you need to add more as the lentils cook.
3. Heat about 2 Tbs olive oil in a large (very large) skillet. Add onions and a pinch of salt and sweat (covered) for about 15 minutes, then cook uncovered over low heat for another 15 minutes until they begin to carmelize.
4. Add chopped tomatoes, garlic powder, basil and salt and pepper to onions. Let these cook over low heat while you wait for the pasta and lentils to finish.
5. Drain lentils and pour into onion, tomato mixture. Toss gently, careful not to break the lentils.
6. Drain pasta just at al dente. Rinse quickly with cold water (I find this keeps the GF pasta from getting mushy). Add pasta to pan with veggies and mix. Pan is getting full now, so mix slowly.
7. Finally, turn off the heat and throw the greens on top and mix gently. The heat from the pasta and veggies will wilt the greens just right.
8. Serve with shredded Romano cheese and red pepper flakes.