Hello again! Have you missed me? After a few weeks of feeling energetically & emotionally “off” it seems I am finally getting myself back to normal. My appetite is returning, as well as is my desire to exercise, cook, & write. While my appetite waned, I sustained myself mostly on juices, smoothies, raw soups & raw chard wraps, & I realized that I really enjoy that kind of eating, under the weather or not. I’ve decided to make that more of the norm, & after my CSA share expires in October, I am going to focus on eating mostly raw & very clean during the week, & cook a fun meal or two over the weekend. I still plan to stock up at the farmers’ market shopping seasonally & locally, I just want to have a little more control over the produce I’m selecting & the dishes I’m planning. This will fit nicely into my very busy schedule as well, & give me something to look forward to on a Friday night.
This pasta dish was born out of the last CSA share of the summer, which was filled with the remnants of late summer’s bounty – zucchini, onions, sweet peppers, tomatoes, basil & mint. In my “raw” state of mind, I’d planned on making a raw marinara & spiraling the zucchini, but as the autumn quinox was upon us & my appetite flourished, I craved a sense of coziness, I decided to make something a little more comforting. As I’ve shared previously, in this house comfort equals pasta, & what is more wonderful than pasta with a rich homemade vegetable sauce?
This velvety, melt in your mouth sauce was inspired by an “Easy French Ratatouille” recipe from The Kitchn that I made earlier in the summer. In place of the eggplant, I bulked up on tomatoes, adding some yellow cherry tomatoes for variety (I find they add a “buttery quality” to homemade sauce) & added smoked paprika (my favorite new spice) for depth & red pepper for a spicy kick, & dry red wine for depth.
- 1 yellow onion
- 3 mixed bell peppers (I used green, orange, & chocolate)
- 6 medium zucchini
- 6 medium tomatoes
- ½ pint yellow cherry tomatoes
- 1 1/2 - 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ Tbsp. dried thyme
- 1 Tsbp. smoked paprika
- ¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
- ¼ cup dry red wine
- Salt & pepper
- Basil ribbons for garnishing
- 1 lb. whole wheat spaghetti
- Dice the onion & roughly chop the peppers, zucchinis, & medium tomatoes into bite-sized pieces. Cut cherry tomatoes in half. Mince the garlic. The vegetables will be cooked in batches like a ratatouille, so keep each one in a separate bowl.
- Warm a teaspoon of olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onions & pinch of salt, & sauté until softened & just beginning to brown, about 8 minutes. Add the peppers & continue cooking until also softened, about another 5 minutes. Transfer the onions & peppers to a clean bowl.
- Add another teaspoon of oil to the pot & sauté the zucchini with a pinch of salt until softened & beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer the zucchini to the bowl with the onions & peppers.
- Warm another teaspoon of olive oil in the pan & sauté the garlic until it is fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, bay leaf, thyme, paprika, red pepper & wine. As the tomato juices begin to bubble, scrape up the brown glaze on the bottom of the pan.
- Add all of the vegetables back into the pan & stir to evenly mix the vegetables. Bring the stew to a simmer, then turn down the heat to low. Stirring occasionally, simmer for 1-1 1/2 hours. The longer cooking time will yield a rich & silkier sauce. Remove the bay leaf & stir in the basil.
- While the sauce is simmering, cook the pasta according to package directions & drain.
- Ladle sauce over bowls of whole wheat spaghetti. Sprinkle with extra basil & vegan Parmesan.