Vegetable Marinara – Quick marinara for your pasta, loaded with vegetables that even the pickiest of eaters will enjoy
My kitchen has become something of a nightmare lately. The kitchen fairy has been utterly kind and several packages worth of pots, pans, gadgets, and more has arrived this past week. A contest prize, a very generous gift, and maybe a teeny-tiny Amazon purchase all arrived within 24-hour period. The Christmas-like explosion of brown parcels all at once means my kitchen could not accommodate the new bounty. My counters and dining table are cluttered. Ok, in fairness, they are always cluttered, but much more so now. On that to-do list of mine has been to clean out all my cabinets and reorganize them. I’ve lived in my home for over 5 years now (side note, this is the longest I have ever lived in a single place since I moved out my mom and stepdad’s house at 18) and I have never really cleaned out my cupboards/pantries since I’ve moved in. Sure, I’ve reorganized the canned goods or the cups and cleaned shelves, but not that horrid task of pulling everything out, taking inventory, parting with those items I don’t ever remember acquiring more or less ever using.
I started this task. I did not finish this task. It might take time. I am way to cerebral about this process. But in the process of cleaning out the food cupboards (I knew this would be the easiest place to start) I found many, many, did I mention many packages of open pastas and rices. Checking dates and freshness I combined like items.
When it came time for dinner I decided to go simple. I already had a mess on my hands, I didn’t need a bigger one. I grabbed the packages of pasta that were similar in size and cooked them up. In the course of getting my water to boil and the pasta to cook, I made an overly easy vegetable marinara. It’s one of those recipes you can just toss in whatever veggies you have on hand, because that’s all I did. The end result was delicious, and kind of whimsical with different noodles.
- 1 zucchini; quartered
- 1 bell pepper; diced
- 1/2 onion; diced
- 8 oz . mushrooms; chopped
- 2 ribs celery; chopped
- 1/2 cup carrots; grated or chopped
- 1-15 oz can diced tomatoes
- 1-15 oz can crushed tomatoes
- 1-8 oz can tomato sauce
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil; +/-
- 2 cloves garlic; minced/grated
- 1/4 tsp salt/pepper; to taste , start with 1/8 tsp and adjust from there.
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp sugar; start with 1/4 tsp and adjust from there.
- Crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
- Parmesan Cheese (optional-vegan or traditional)
- 1 lb pasta
Bring a large pot of water to boil, once boiling, salt it generously and add the pasta, stirc and cook according to package cooking times.
Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and warm over a medium-high heat.
Add the onions, celery, carrots, bell pepper, and garlic.
Cook for 3-4 minutes or until the vegetables begin to soften.
Add the zucchini and mushrooms, cook for an addition 3-4 minutes. Add the remaining olive oil if needed.
Season with salt and pepper.
Remove from heat (to avoid splattering) and add the diced tomatoes and the crushed tomatoes, mix well. Return to heat.
Add the basil, oregano, sugar and tomato sauce. Stir well, allow to heat through and taste for seasoning. Adjust the salt, pepper, and sugar if need be.
Bring to a high simmer while stirring constantly, then reduce the heat to low and allow it to sit, stirring occasionally while the noodles finish.
Once the noodles are done, serve immediately and garnish with red pepper flakes and/or parmesan cheese-both optional.