Mid-Week Fancy-ish Dinner: Papardelle Primavera

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

One of my favorite things about eating out is the inspiration it lends to my own cooking. When I try a dish I love I'll do my best to try to figure out what's in it, and how I can re-create it. If I were a Top Chef contestant I think I'd do well at those challenges where they test your palate to see how many ingredients you can name in a dish.

Anyway, as I mentioned in my last post, I fell in love with San Diego restaurant Spread -- most notably their papardelle dish. Papardelle is my favorite pasta and it can be difficult to find a vegan version of it because it usually contains egg, which helps hold together the wide noodle. But I lucked out and found some fresh vegan papardelle in Whole Foods this week and knew I'd have to attempt to re-create the Spread meal.

This isn't an exact replica. It's more of a cross between theirs and a pasta primavera. But I was still pretty pleased with the results and it was pretty simple. Here's my recipe:

Ingredients Used:
1/2 Large Carrot, chopped
3/4 Can crushed tomatoes (I used Muir Glen fire roasted.)
1/4 Cup olive oil
1/4 Cup vegetable broth
1/2 Zucchini, chopped
1/2 Cup peas
1 Tbsp chopped red onion or shallots
1 Tsp lemon olive oil (use 1 tsp oil plus 1 tsp lemon juice if you don't have an infused oil)
1 Tbsp white wine or sherry
Assortment of fresh herbs (rosemary, thyme and sage) chopped. About 1 tsp all together.
Salt, black pepper, dry sage to taste
12 Oz. pasta (this would be good with penne too)


In a small pot, heat the veggie broth and olive oil. Chop the carrot finely and add to pot along with salt and some dry sage. Simmer over low heat, covered for 15-20 minutes. Now's a good time to start the water boiling for the pasta.

In a separate small frying pan bring the peas, onion, zucchini, lemon oil, and wine to a low simmer. After 5 minutes or so, add half of your chopped herbs, along with some salt.

After your carrots have simmered, they should be able to easily be crushed using a fork or potato masher. Add the crushed tomatoes and some more salt, mash and continue to simmer, covered, over very low heat.

Keep stirring the peas and zucchini. You may want to add a bit more wine if they're looking dry. Once your water is boiling and the pasta. If it's fresh pasta it will only take about 5 minutes, and you'll want to continually stir it to avoid sticking. (Mine actually stuck together really bad which may have been the draw back to using it fresh. Tongs can be useful in helping separate while you stir.)

Once it's ready drain and dish out onto two plates. Cover with several spoonfuls of tomato sauce, topped with the zuccini and peas. Sprinkle the remaining fresh herbs and a little cracked black pepper.

Voila! Serve it with a nice white wine and a simple side salad - mixed greens and what not. This meal will probably get you laid.