Thursday, August 22, 2013

Penne with Veggies and Black Beans from the Wonderful Wife

NOTE: This is another guest post from my lovely wife. She's been on a roll using up garden vegetables. This is just a great recipe. I love what she did with it.

     The husband started back to work last week, and I wanted to make a big batch of something he could take to school for lunches. I vaguely remembered making a cold veggie pasta salad last summer that he really liked. I was positive it was in the Everyday Light Meals cookbook, but after going through it page by page, I wasn't able to find it. Huh… So, I went through it again – page by page. And there it was. Why couldn't I find it the first time, you ask? Simple. I made so many alterations to it the first time I made it that I didn't recognize it in the cookbook. I will give you the recipe as it was intended to be made and also my changes. Don’t worry. If it’s delicious my way, it’s probably more delicious when made properly.

Penne with Veggies 'n Black Beans
via Taste of Home Everyday Light Meals
  • 10 ounces uncooked penne pasta (Let the substitutions begin! I make this with elbow macaroni. Maybe we were out of penne when I made it the first time, or maybe I felt a veggie pasta salad could only be made with macaroni. Heck, use bow-ties if you want. It’s pasta. It all tastes the same.)
  • 1 cup sliced zucchini (I did a combo of zucchini and squash.)
  • 1 cup sliced carrots (The first time I made this, I believe I grated the carrots. Worked fine. This time, I didn’t have regular carrots – just baby. So I cut them lengthwise down the middle and then did it again, effectively quartering them.)
  • ½ cup fresh mushrooms (No fresh mushrooms in the house. I just omitted them entirely and made up the difference with other veggies. I’ve also used canned mushrooms, but I didn’t sauté them with the other veggies.)
  • ½ cup julienned green or sweet red pepper (I used green.)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced (I used 1 teaspoon of minced garlic from the jar.)
  • 1 tablespoon each minced fresh basil, oregano, and thyme or 1 teaspoon each dried basil, oregano, and thyme (We don’t grown thyme in the herb garden, but we did have fresh basil and oregano, so I used a tablespoon of each, and a teaspoon of dried thyme.)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2/3 cup chopped seeded tomatoes (I prefer to use halved cherry tomatoes.)
  • 1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (I used 4 oz of cubed mozzarella cheese.)
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
The aforementioned ingredients in no particular order.

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet, sauté the zucchini, carrots, mushrooms (omitted), green pepper, onion, garlic, and seasonings in 1 tablespoon of olive oil until crisp-tender. Stir in the beans.
  3. Add drained pasta to vegetable mixture. Add tomatoes and remaining olive oil; toss gently. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and parsley. (Here’s where I really deviate from the recipe. This dish is supposed to be served hot, but my husband said it was even better cold. So, after tossing the tomatoes and olive oil into the pasta mixture, I put the whole thing in the refrigerator for a few hours. In the meantime, I cube up the mozzarella cheese. After the pasta has had time to cool, I take it out and toss in the mozzarella and parsley.)

One serving (1 1/3 cup) equals 315 calories.
Good times!

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