No. I am not Italian. But the ingredients I love to use for many of my quickie suppers are connected to the Mediterranean cuisines, using greens of some sort, garlic, onions, basil, marjoram, olive oil and/or tomatoes. Last night I was starving after being out all day and when I am starving, I often want a simple (and sensuous/flavorful) pasta meal with healthy greens..something I can whip together with minimal fuss..a quickie of sorts with whatever is in the refrigerator.
I also have recently given up (or at least minimized) wheat in my diet as new information comes forth about the kind of genetically engineered wheat that has become our national staple and has significant health and dietary risks. Thankfully, I have found a wonderful non-gluten pasta made from brown rice that in flavor, and even more importantly in TEXTURE, is an excellent substitution for the wheat. (Made by a company named TINKYADA, it can be found in health food stores and in many markets in the U.S.)
My refrigerator holds many treasures but for some reason last night I was really craving some sort of green vegetable and was delighted that I had hand-picked a small supply of loose Brussels Sprouts from the market the day before; An odd and amusing vegetable with its unique growth habit ( no it does grow in those little round carboard cellophane wrapped boxes on the shelves) and in its musky/dusky flavor with a surprise hint of sweetness if prepared carefully. My kitchen counter and herb cabinet als0 is well stocked with other tasty supplies as well to be creatively sprinkled, chopped, or carefully tossed into, poured over or stirred into my evening fare. So here we are! Last night’s very delicious dinner…it was SOOOO good.
I describe here a portion for one person..please just double or triple ingredients by your own good calculations and careful hand.
6-8 small/medium Brussels Sprouts, rinsed,…2-3 slices of sweet (or regular) onion, diced…1 or 2 large cloves of garlic diced…olive oil and butter...3 -4 small sweet cocktail tomatoes, seeded and quarted (may use 2 smallish plum tomatoes)..a small slab of a soft mozzarella, chopped or diced)…dried basil and marjoram…a pinch of slivered almonds..salt and pepper to taste… a sprinkle of cayenne if desired..several tablespoons of a canned chicken broth as desired… a single portion of gluten-free pasta ( I used spirals), cooked in advance and set aside, warmed. (Regular wheat pasta may be used if you are not fussy about “gluten-free.)
Cook pasta al dente, drain and set aside keeping it warm. Rinse Brussels Sprouts, discarding bruised outer leaves, cut off dried bottom and cut in half. Boil gently in lightly salted water until tender and drain. In a small skillet, saute onion and garlic in a mixture of olive oil and butter (1-2 tablespoons) until translucent and just beginning to color golden (do not burn). Add cooked brussels sprouts and stir.. Add chopped tomatoes, and cook a little longer for them to soften. Add a little chicken broth to moisten and make a little “juice”…sprinkle with a pinch of the dried basil and sweet marjoram, salt and pepper to taste. It is important always to taste and adjust seasonings as you go along for “sensous” suppers. ( warning! Season with a light touch..and then increase as necessary…it is NOT possible to decrease an ingredient once you have over-added it…!)
Put the warm pasta in a bowl. Add diced/chopped mozzarella on top of the pasta and then put the hot sprouts mixture over those. (There should be a little broth). Add a good pinch of the slivered almonds and a sprinkle of cayenne if desired. Stir lightly to mix ingredients. The cheese should melt a bit and be slightly chewy, the slivered almonds add a crunch, the pasta al-dente, the brussels sprouts rich and flavourful, the tomatoes add a nice red in contrast to the green. Totally delicious.