There is one downside to cooking from scratch that turns many people away – and I’m not talking about skill level, since cooking a real home style meal from scratch is so satisfying, that you are usually too proud to realize how crappy it comes out. Plus, it doesn’t take very long before you get considerably more comfortable in the kitchen and quickly start to improve. Anyway, when I tell people that I cook pretty much everything I eat, they usually ask me, “How could you possibly have time for that??” Yes, it does take a lot of time doing the same thing over and over again for ultimately 10 minutes of eating time. I think one of my professors put it best when she said, “I tried cooking from scratch like that. There’s a lot of chopping. There’s just so much time spent chopping stuff.”
One of the ways I short-cut the time I spend prepping (because, after all, I am actually a relatively busy person) is to cook the food I love most! Simple, rustic food is natural, flavorful, and usually has the best nutritional punch with the least impact on your wallet. It’s also quick because the ingredients list is short, it’s not a fussy way of cooking, and the prep is limited because you just have to cut the stuff up enough to be able to fit it in your mouth.
Quick Summer Pasta:
- Large saute pan, large pot, colander, knife, cutting board, stove top
- 1 lb. whole wheat long pasta like spaghetti, linguini or fettuccine
- 4 tomatoes, cut into wedges
- Mushrooms (I used 15-20 button mushrooms and 2 portabellas since that’s what I could find), quartered or cut into large pieces
- 3-4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 2 large white onions, slivered
- 5-10 sprigs parsley, chopped
- Lots of fresh basil (I used between 20-25 leaves)
- A pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
- Grated Parm (optional to keep it vegan)
- Kosher salt and ground black pepper to taste
- Fill the large pot with water and bring it to a boil. Salt the water with a heavy pinch of salt. Chop your veg.
- Drizzle the evoo on the bottom of the saute pan and give it a nice coating (maybe 2-3 Tbsp). Warm the oil over medium heat. Add in the onion slivers and saute 5-7 mins or until they start to soften. Toss in the chopped garlic and saute another 1-2 mins.
- Add the pasta to the boiling water.
- Mix in the tomato wedges and let them get hot and start to shrink, about 2 mins, and then add the mushrooms. Let the veggies simmer until the mushrooms are softened to your preferred texture, about 5-10 mins. Season with salt and pepper, and add the red pepper flakes if desired. Remove the pan from the heat.
- Sprinkle the parsley and basil on top. Stir in the herbs so they turn bright green when they hit the heat.
- Strain the pasta and hit it with a drizzle of evoo if desired.