Lately, dinner time has been a bit of a struggle.
I’m just so sick of the same old exhausted ideas! I don’t think I can eat another meal of pork chops, baked potato, and canned green beans. I just can’t.
Even when your entire diet is comprised of local, homegrown foods that you produced yourself, it’s really easy to get sick of the same meals.
I was browsing the internet for some inspiration a few days ago when I stumbled across a recipe for pasta primavera.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love pasta primavera. But it’s not really a midwinter dish, you know what I mean?
But I’m not one to be easily deterred. I did some thinking, and finally came up with my own unique idea that was not only an interesting spin on primavera, but also a great way to use up a bunch of my stored vegetables from the prior season’s harvest.
Ladies and gentlemen, I bring to you root cellar pasta primavera.
Here’s how to make it.
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Why Root Cellar Vegetables?
Each year, my husband and I put away several dozen pints and quarts of various vegetables, including carrots, parsnips, green beans, peppers, tomatoes, salsa, tomato sauce, zucchini relish, and much, much more.
There are only so many ways you can eat up those canned goods! After a while, it’s easy to get sick of them – but you still need to make room for next year’s crop.
This recipe is an interesting new way to use them up – and in a healthy way to boot. You can really use any kinds of veggies you want (I’ll include the ones I use in the ingredients list) depending on what you have in stock and what kinds of vegetables are your favorite. I call these “root cellar” vegetables because they’re part of my canned goods supply that I keep in my basement, although I did pull some ingredients from the reserves I had in the freezer, too.
Using these root cellar vegetables is a great way to switch up your dinner time rituals a bit. Plus, canned goods last so long, you’re almost guaranteed to have at least one or two of these types of vegetables sitting on your shelves. Home canned foods are almost just as nutritious as their fresh counterparts, so eating them up is a great way to give your body a dose of the nutrients it so desperately needs at this harsh time of the year.
I know – the name is a bit of a misnomer, as primavera is inherently a springtime dish comprised of springtime vegetables.
But why not shake things up a bit?
Root Cellar Pasta Primavera Recipe
- One pint green beans
- A pint of carrots
- One pint parsnips
- 3 cups kale (previously frozen and thawed)
- 3 cups shredded zucchini (previously frozen and thawed)
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes (I had some fresh ones, but you could also use canned)
- 1 stick of salted butter
- 3 cups of sharp cheddar cheese
- 2 lbs whole-wheat pasta (any shape or style will work)
- ¼ cup minced garlic (or less, if garlic isn’t your style)
- 2 Tbsp parsley
- Salt and pepper, to taste
1. Thaw all of your vegetables the night before. Since you’ll be gathering all of your freezer ingredients ahead of time, I recommend taking out the canned goods you intend to use, too. This way, you’ll have a good idea of what your inventory looks like and know if you need to purchase anything else to make the perfect dish.
2. In a large saute pan, combine any vegetables that were not previously canned. You don’t want to add the canned vegetables yet, since they were already softened by the process of canning and will soften to a mush if you begin cooking them too early.
3. Cook your vegetables at a low heat, stirring every minute or so to make sure they cook up evenly. If you are using a vegetable with a high water content, like zucchini, you will need to strain off some of the water before you add the rest of your ingredients.
4. Once your vegetables have cooked through to a tender consistency, you can add your butter and cheese. Continue cooking, turning the ingredients regularly.
5. Put water on to boil. Once it reaches a boil, add your pasta and cook until it is al dente.
6. While your pasta is cooking, add the rest of your vegetables to the saute pan. The goal here is not to cook the vegetables again, but merely to heat them back up. Everything should have a nice, consistent texture by the time it’s done, but it shouldn’t be mushy. If it’s too mushy, back off the heat a bit.
7. Strain your pasta through a colander, then add it to the vegetables. Mix to make sure everything is fully coated with the butter and cheese, then add your spices to taste.
PS: It also tastes GREAT reheated!
What recipes do you have to get you through these long (but hopefully not much longer!) days of winter? Let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear from you.
Want to learn more about farming? Be sure to check out these articles!
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