Midweek dinners can be a challenge. For stay-at-home parents, afterschool activities mean spending much of the afternoon and evening in the car. Working parents are exhausted by the time they drag themselves home from the train station.
Either way, the thought of cooking dinner can be overwhelming.
That’s where Wednesday Night Pasta comes to the rescue. A recipe of my own creation, this dish is quick (30 minutes tops), healthy and delicious. It requires just one pan and a minimum of ingredients.
Best of all, it is extremely adaptable. Use whatever you have in the fridge. Swap out the zucchini for eggplant, bell peppers, leafy greens, fresh tomatoes, corn – or use more than one. No onion? Skip it, or use shallots or leeks instead. Even frozen veggies will work.
To boost the protein quotient, add leftover chicken or meat, or cubes of tofu. Fresh herbs are a nice touch, if you have them around.
The game plan: when you get home, put the pasta water on to boil. Chop the veggies, and by the time the pasta is cooked your sauce will be ready and waiting.
Before you know it, you and your family will be tucking into rich, hearty bowls of pasta chock full of savory vegetables.
Speaking of vegetables, stop by the today from 2 p.m. -7 p.m. for inspiration. There’s still plenty of zucchini!
Savory Wednesday Night Pasta
Make sure the pasta is thoroughly combined with the sauce at the end, so that each bite is infused with flavor.
1 lb. pasta, regular or whole wheat
2 T. olive oil
2-3 small zucchini, sliced ¼ “ thick
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1- 10 oz. package mushrooms, sliced thin
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 t. red wine or balsamic vinegar
½ - 1 cup chicken broth
1 cup cooked chicken, meat or tofu (optional)
Handful of chopped herbs (optional)
Grated parmigiano (or pecorino or grana padana), roughly ½ - 1 cup
Bring pot of salted water to boil. Add pasta, cook for 1-2 minutes less than package directions, or until al dente. Drain and set aside.
Meanwhile, heat oil in a large, non-stick skillet until shimmering. Add zucchini and sauté on medium-high heat for 3-5 minutes, or until it begins to soften and turn golden.
Add onion, sauté for 3-5 minutes until onions become translucent. Add garlic, sauté for 1 minute. Add mushrooms, turn up heat to high and sauté until mushrooms start to darken, about 3 minutes.
Lower heat to medium; add salt and pepper and vinegar. Cook for one minute and add broth, starting with ½ cup and adding more as needed. Add meat or herbs, if using. Mixture should be moist and saucy. Simmer for about 2-3 minutes.
Add pasta to pan of sauce. Cook over low heat, stirring frequently until pasta is thoroughly coated with sauce. Turn off heat, add cheese and stir until combined. If pasta seems a bit dry, add more broth a little at a time until pasta is glossy. Serve hot, with extra cheese on the side.