“Vegetable Bin Pasta”
It seems like I’m making a lot of pasta dinners these days. Not sure what’s up with that, but they’re easy, filling, and taste good. I guess that’s reason enough! Tonight’s pasta has a fancy name, “Pasta Primavera.” Pasta primavera is an American dish that consists of pasta and fresh vegetables, invented in the 1970s (as per Wikipedia).
I wanted to rename it “clean out the vegetable bin pasta,” but it just didn’t have the same appeal. I’m serious! The list of veggies shown in the ingredients is the vegetables I had sitting in the fridge. I was in the mood for something somewhat healthy, and veggies qualified! In keeping with the spirit of being healthy, the sauce consists of a little white wine vinegar mixed with the liquid from cooking the pasta (chicken broth). The dish gets a kick from the crushed red pepper and grated parmesan topping. This recipe makes a delicious dinner packed with color, texture, and flavor and is just as good hot as it is cold.
Prep the veggies
Prepping the veggies can be a little time-consuming, depending on what you are using. In my case, I had a lot of chopping, slicing, and mincing. It wasn’t a surprise, and I found it very relaxing to methodically prep each colorful addition. As I mentioned, any combination of vegetables will work. I didn’t use carrots or celery simply because I didn’t have them on hand. Green onion, white onion, or yellow onion would work just as well as red onion. Same with yellow squash instead or in addition to the zucchini. You can omit anything you don’t like – if you’re not into garlic or mushrooms, leave them out. No-fuss, no muss!
Shortcut: Save time by buying a bag of pre-cut mixed vegetables from your produce department.
Prep the shrimp
I chose to use frozen cooked shrimp once again. It’s so easy to thaw just the amount I want. I don’t splurge on the peeled and trimmed variety, which adds a couple of minutes to the prep. If you have left-over chicken or a rotisserie chicken, use it instead of the shrimp.
I love that the same pot cooks the entire meal. You’ll need something relatively large, like a Dutch oven or a stock or pasta pot. Heat a little oil and had the mushrooms, garlic, onion, and zucchini cooking until soft. Remove the veggies from the pot into a bowl (they get added back in after the pasta is cooked).
Add the chicken or vegetable broth, pasta, and salt to the pan and cook until pasta is almost tender and stock is nearly absorbed. Add tomatoes and broccoli, and cook for another few minutes. The broccoli should be brilliant green.
Bring it all together
Add spinach and continue cooking until spinach wilts. Stir back in the mushroom mixture, shrimp, and vinegar. Remove from heat. Season with salt & pepper. Top with grated cheese and crushed red pepper.
This dish is delicious when served immediately. It’s also fabulous chilled in the fridge overnight and served cold. It’s such a pretty dish, and clean-up is a breeze with just one pot! Enjoy.
One Pot Pasta Primavera with ShrimpCourse: Main, PastaCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Easy
One Pot Pasta Primavera with Shrimp is a wonderful mix of colorful, crispy-tender summer vegetables in a flavorful vinegar sauce and topped with freshly grated parmesan cheese. This is an easy and nutritious, light but satisfying weeknight meal.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound cooked medium shrimp
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup chopped sweet peppers
1/2 red onion, chopped
½ pint grape tomatoes, halved
½ cup sliced fresh mushrooms
2 garlic cloves, minced
5 ounces baby spinach (about 4 cups)
1 1/2 cups chopped broccoli
1 zucchini – chopped
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
8 ounces uncooked rotini pasta
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
Salt & pepper to taste
1/2 ounce parmesan, shredded (about 2 Tbsp.) – for topping
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper – for topping
- Prep: Thaw and peel shrimp. Chop sweet peppers, garlic, red onion, broccoli, and zucchini. Halve grape tomatoes. Slice mushrooms. Mince garlic. Trim spinach. Grate parmesan cheese.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a Dutch oven or stock pot or over medium-high. Add sweet peppers, zucchini, mushrooms, red onion, and cook, stirring often, until vegetables are tender, about 4 minutes. Remove from pan, cover to keep warm.
- Add pasta, broth, and salt to pot; bring to a boil over medium-high. Boil pasta, stirring occasionally, until pasta is almost tender and stock is almost absorbed, about 9 minutes. Add tomatoes and broccoli, cook for 2 minutes. Add spinach and continue cooking until spinach is wilted, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in mushroom/zucchini mixture, shrimp and vinegar. Remove from heat. Season with salt & pepper. Top with grated cheese and crushed red pepper.
- Vegetables: Any combination of vegetables will work in this recipe! Use what you have in your vegetable bin. Save time by buying pre-cut vegetables in the produce department.
- Rotini pasta: Fusilli, Penne, Rigatoni, Farfalle, Ziti, Rotelle, Radiatori, Cavatelli (most any pasta will work!)
- Parmesan cheese: Fresh cheese will be more flavorful, but pre-grated (in the green can) is fine