Twas the Week Before Christmas…

December 21st, 2010 · 4 Comments · Dinner, Pasta, Quick, Vegetarian

…and neither you nor your spouse…can even think about getting dinner on the table. Especially if you are the one cooking the Big Dinner in a few short days for a few dozen guests. This easy pasta dish is a good fall-back plan for these kinds of nights, when all you want to do is pour a glass of milk over some Fruit Loops and call it a meal. It’s healthy, makes good use of last-legs grape tomatoes, and requires minimum hands-on time so you can go ahead and get something done — like wrap the karaoke machine or the Sambas or the new Amelia Rules book. Shhhhh!

Whole Wheat Pasta with Roast Tomatoes and Mascarpone

Toss two small containers grape tomatoes and 1/2 red onion (roughly chopped) in olive oil. Add salt and pepper. Spread on a rimmed cookie sheet and bake at 300°F for an hour or until tomatoes look shriveled and a little golden brown on top. (Watch them to make sure they don’t blacken.) During last 15 minutes of roasting, cook whole wheat penne according to package directions. After you drain penne, add olive oil and 1 clove garlic (minced) to the same pot and cook over low heat about a minute. Add pasta back to pot, then toss with tomatoes and onions. Serve with a dollop of mascarpone or ricotta and freshly grated Parmesan.

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Pasta with Yogurt, Spinach, and Sweet Onions

April 7th, 2010 · 8 Comments · Dinner, Pasta, Vegetarian

This recipe used to be our go-to for entertaining vegetarians — back when vegetarians were, you know, a rare breed. Now, thankfully, the dish has moved into our regular dinner rotation. The hardest part about it is securing the sheep’s milk yogurt — but not really, you can find it at Whole Foods or even a slightly-gourmet supermarket — then it’s just a matter of remembering to cook more onions than you think feels right. The contrast between their caramel-ly sweetness and the tangy yogurt……I don’t want to get overly precious here, but: Oh. Boy.  It’s so good that I don’t mind cooking two completely separate meals for the grown-ups and the kids, who, sadly, won’t touch it no matter how many chocolate-covered raisins and Michael Jackson youtube videos I promise them as a reward.

Can't win 'em all. Our dinner (left); the kids' dinner (right)

Pasta with Yogurt, Spinach and Sweet Onions
Adapted from Amanda Hesser, The New York Times.
3 glugs olive oil
4 yellow onions sliced
1 pound whole wheat fettucini
2 6-ounce containers sheep’s-milk yogurt, drained through a coffee filter set in a strainer for at least 20 minutes
2 cups-ish fresh spinach
1 cup grated Parmesan

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the onions. Reduce the heat to medium low and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are golden brown, 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook your pasta in a large pot, adding spinach during the last 30 seconds. Strain, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta water. In the same pot, whisk together the drained yogurt with the pasta water. Toss pasta with the yogurt mixture. Divide the pasta among 4 bowls. Sprinkle generously with cheese and top with onions.

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