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Making stuff up: Summer veggie pasta

August 3, 2010

My mom and I got into a pretty insignificant argument last weekend at the shore.

Now, most arguments you have with family members are over pretty trivial things. He didn’t do this, she breathed, he knocked over my thingie, Preston slobbered on me, Dad threw the bean bag at my face in close range, you know. The usual.

Last weekend, Mom got mad at me because I used too much onion in the onion/tomato/blue cheese salad. It called for 1/3 c. and I just chopped up almost the whole onion and threw it in a bowl. I did the same with the tomatoes; I just cut as many as I had with me and threw them in.

“Laura, that is too much onion.”

Me: “What? Who cares. It tastes good. It’s fine.”

Mom: “No, it’s not. Don’t you follow recipes!?”

Me: “Um…actually, not really.”

Mom: “Well, I do.”

Me: “Wait, really?”

Mom: “Wait, really?”

Innnnteresting. The woman who taught me everything I know about cooking has a completely different philosophy about it than I do. This was enlightening. Earth-shattering. Paradigm-shifting.

OK, so it’s not that serious, but my mind was pretty blown to realize that my mom follows the recipes she uses to the letter. Every measurement is precise. Me? I just read “onion” and go hmm, OK, that looks about right. I see ingredients and add some to the list, or I read one thing and substitute another I think would taste better. I substituted bacon for broccoli in a strata and she flipped out. Whatever! Those are totally the same.

Anyone who knows us both would find this amusing, as usually I am the one who loves a plan, structure, organization and hates to stray from it. My mom is the flexible one who is more laid-back and goes with the flow.

Do you follow recipes when you cook? How closely?

This all leads me to “Throw whatever you want in the pasta” Pasta.

That’s a big noodle.

1/2 box-ish of whole wheat pasta
4-6 slices of bacon, rendered of its fat (which is saved and in the pan)
1 zucchini, chopped
1 container grape tomatoes
2 ears of corn, kernels removed
1 green pepper
1 can of black beans
1 onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic or more if you like it
basil
parmesan cheese
salt/pepper

Cook your pasta with lightly salted water. Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a large nonstick guy. When it’s crispy, remove to a paper towel and keep the rendered fat. If there isn’t enough, you can add a bit of olive oil. Add the onions and garlic, cook for a few minutes over medium-high heat until the onion is getting clear. Add in the zucchini, corn, black beans, and pepper; cook and stir 3-5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook for another 3 minutes.

When the pasta is done, drain and place in a big bowl. Coat with a little olive oil and a few tablespoons of Parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper. When the vegetable mixture is finished, dump it in the bowl and stir it around. Take the pieces of bacon and smush them in your hands, sprinkle over the top of the pasta. Chiffonade some basil and throw that on top too. Make it look beautiful, enjoy.

[Loosely based on Cooking Light’s recipe here.]

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. August 3, 2010 3:38 pm

    Lots of comments here:

    1) I love any recipe that calls from keeping the bacon fat.

    2) I too am shocked that you stray from recipes. Not that you invent your own recipes, but that when there is a recipe, you don’t follow it exactly. Maybe that’s why you love cooking? It gives you a chance to go crazy, haha.

    3) Julie (old roommate) and I have similarly opposite approaches to cooking – she eyeballs everything and I am a stickler for directions until I am comfortable enough with the recipe to try it on my own. She’s the better cook.

    • Laura permalink*
      August 3, 2010 4:32 pm

      The one time I allllwaaaayyys follow recipes is if I am baking. Like, to a T.

      You don’t mess with flour/sugar/baking soda/salt/powder/cinnamon/yeast.

      • Laura permalink*
        August 3, 2010 4:32 pm

        Also, I knew you’d be surprised. Very un-Laura.

  2. holly permalink
    August 3, 2010 7:03 pm

    Next you’ll be throwing your plans out the window and moving to NYC. That is what not following the recipe directions leads to. Foolishness and Mayhem.

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