I love many things about being a freelance writer, but on cold, rainy days I am especially thankful that going to work doesn’t involve leaving my apartment. Such was the case yesterday. Walking to Whole Foods was not something I wanted to do either, so I decided to make a meal out of what I had in the house—or what could be procured from a nearby shop. I had plenty of vegetables—broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, carrots, peas—some homemade marinara sauce in my freezer and shrimp. Fresh pasta could be bought from Russo’s, a mere 3 blocks away and my corner Korean market always has fresh lettuce for salad. Dinner accomplished.
As I pondered how I would prepare this meal, I remembered that pasta with veggies was the first meal I made for Johnny when we started dating. I used fettuccine that night, or maybe even linguine, and only learned much later that he isn’t a huge fan of stringy pasta. (Like a good dinner guest, he ate every bite). And when I made it again last night—this time with pappardelle, a wide, ribbon-like pasta that’s thick enough not to be construed as stringy—I remembered why I chose it for my debut dish. Not only is it relatively easy to make, but it’s filling and satisfying, all of the things a meal, and a relationship, should be.
Another great thing about this dish is that you can virtually use any combination of vegetables that you have in the fridge. I steamed my leftover broccoli and cauliflower and then I put a swirl of olive oil and some chopped garlic in a saute pan and cooked the carrots and zucchini until they were soft. The peas were frozen, so I added those in at the end.
I boiled some shrimp, cooked the pasta and then mixed everything together in a big bowl before topping it with my sauce and freshly grated Pecorino Romano. A salad, eggplant meatballs and a bottle of red wine rounded out the meal.