I’m in Love With a Flexitarian

I just have to say…Mark Bittman, I love you.

One of my favorite sources to find recipes has to be Mark Bittman’s column in the NY Times. His recipes are simple yet delicious, making it extremely easy to eat good food that’s healthy for you. His most recent recipe (which naturally I had to make) was Pasta alla Norma—and it was to die for.

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For the recipe you’ll need: 1 ½ pounds of eggplant, cut into decent –sized chunks; 1 tbsp. of chopped garlic (I took the easier approach put the garlic through a mincer); 3-4 dried chiles (I left these out but by all means add them if you want a nice kick to your dish); 1 ½ pounds of tomatoes—his recipe calls for fresh but canned work just as well!; 1 teaspoon dried oregano; 1 pound of pasta–I used this amazing big rigatoni from Eataly (my mom and I were calling it “big rig” by the end of the night); ½ cup chopped parsley or basil; and last but not least, ½ cup grated ricotta salata.

Simply cook the eggplant in lots and lots of olive oil (good thing it’s heart healthy!), and season with salt and pepper. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the pasta according to the box. Once the eggplant is nice and brown, remove and sauté the garlic (and chiles if you use them), then add the tomatoes, oregano, salt and pepper, and cook until ‘saucy’ (his words not mine).  When the pasta is done, strain and add to the tomato/garlic mixture, top with grated ricotta salata, and there you have it! Pasta alla Norma cooked from scratch. This is a dish that is guaranteed to impress any guest!

If you haven’t seen Mark Bittman’s column in the NY Times, check it out! He takes wonderful ingredients and turns them into a fabulous meal that doesn’t take much time at all. Trust me, his recipes won’t disappoint you. Try some of his recipes and let me know which ones are your favorites—I’d love to blog about them! But until next time, keep eating!

Carbo-Loading Lovin’

With classes almost over, finals coming up, and graduation just around the corner, I decided to treat myself tonight–with a Mediterranean pasta dish. When you put garlic, artichokes, pasta, feta, tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, and zucchini together you get something pretty close to heaven.

I get most of my inspiration from Pinterest these days, so naturally that’s where I found this recipe. I was led to this wonderful blog. The recipe was titled “Skinny Mediterranean Pasta.” Now normally I prefer recipes with tons of fat, but with my sorority formal tomorrow I didn’t want to take any chances. While there is skinny in the name, you wouldn’t know it! It was simply delicious.

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I’m a huge believer of good food that’s quick and easy–and this fit the bill. Boil some water for the pasta (you can choose any type of pasta you like!), then saute artichokes, onions, tomatoes, zucchini, and garlic–I also added sliced olives and roasted red pepper–and cook those until tender. Then add balsamic vinegar and voila! toss it all together and serve with crumbled feta for that added touch. (That was a quick version of the recipe but here is the real one). I made a huge pan and almost ate the whole thing.

I should treat myself to a leisurely, homecooked meal more often–cooking can be such a stress reliever. This recipe would be awesome chilled as well (maybe a lunch on a hot summer day??) If you love pasta like I do, check this recipe out. But until next time, keep eating!