What’s cookin’ at Callie’s Cabin?: Cozy up to fall stir-fry pasta
Welcome to the world of pasta – the ultimate comfort food. It is versatile, healthy and easy to whip up. While sauces like pesto and marinara have their pros and cons, turning to a sauce-less pasta with fresh autumn veggies is a feel-good way to bring in the change of seasons.
Rewind to my pre-Callie’s Cabin days. I was going through an anti-cooking and baking stage. I recall one fall day I stocked up on those frozen pasta dinners. I’m talking mac-and-cheese to clam linguini. It was a steal because they were on sale. My freezer was stuffed with quickie microwave pasta meals. That night I popped one of those puppies into the microwave, nuked it, and that was dinner. And it was comforting for a busy gal-author who stayed clear of the kitchen.
On Monday night I morphed from a frozen dinner foodie to doing it myself. I befriended my medium saucepan and saute pan. I turned to Italian penne, friendly pasta in cylinder-shaped pieces. While the pasta was boiling, I turned on the heat to a high temp, and added a tad of creamy butter.
On a wooden cutting board I chopped a mix of fresh vegetables and tossed them into the sizzling butter. The aroma of onion and garlic lingered in the kitchen. Within minutes the veggies were tender, pasta was cooked.
I sat down to savor the home-cooked, all-in-one meal in an earthy dark brown bowl.
The Stir-Fry Pasta is full of flavor and colors of autumn – green, red, yellow and brown.
While this pasta dish is yummy, other comfort foods can be culprits. I confess that I’ve been eating peanut brittle and caramels (frozen) because crunchy, sweet food is a soothing treat.
But today I paid my dentist a visit, because over the weekend thanks to those hard candies I lost a filling. Now I’m gaining a partial crown. Tonight after a bowl of leftover pasta I curled up with a large cup of hot chamomile tea spiked with honey. The hard stuff is history. Well, maybe during the holidays I’ll munch on the thin, softer gourmet peanut brittle. On the other hand, I might just go on the quest for a peanut brittle-flavored tea or coffee to get that warm and fuzzy feeling.
Motto: Comfort food comes in all types. Choosing the healthiest fare when fall is in the air will keep you smiling.
Fall Stir-Fry Pasta
8-ounce package whole grain penne pasta
2-3 tablespoons European-style butter
1⁄4 cup red onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1⁄4 cup green bell pepper, chopped
1⁄4 cup zucchini, chopped
1⁄2 cup fresh mushrooms, sliced
1⁄2 cup fresh Roma tomatoes, sliced
1⁄2 cup fresh Parmesan cheese, shavings
In a saucepan cook pasta in boiling water until al dente. While pasta is cooking, heat butter in a large saute pan or wok over high heat. Add onion and bell pepper followed by other vegetables. Cook for no longer than 5 minutes. Drain pasta. Add it and the vegetable mix. Toss cheese. Serves 3-4.
* A special thanks to-Tahoe Family Dentists.