Or, How to eat vegetables when you only really like carbs.
I do not like vegetables. Like, at all. I don’t like tomatoes, I don’t like carrots, I don’t like courgettes, broccoli, cucumbers, artichokes, parsnips or green beans. (Please still like me.) When I moved away from home for uni and started feeding myself all the time, though, I realised that unless I was going to live off nothing but pasta, risotto, apples and ice cream (horror!), I was going to have to learn to eat vegetables voluntarily. Fast forward two years, and while I still don’t enjoy eating vegetables, I know a ton of easy, interesting meals which incorporate them into meals I do like, and I can proudly say that several times in the last year I’ve managed to take in the recommended five pieces of fruit and veg a day. Several times! This is a colourful, low-effort, summery pasta dish that you can make with whatever you happen to have in the fridge. Measurements are pretty approximate.
Per person, you will need:
- 75 – 100g pasta, dry. (Spiral shapes like fusilli work best for this. You can use less than you usually would because you’ll be adding bulk from the vegetables.)
- Juice and zest of ½ – 1 lemon, or to taste
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary (optional)
- 50-100g chopped vegetables, depending on your desired pasta:veg ratio. Any kind of mix will work; you could use red and yellow peppers, mushrooms, red onion, courgette, cherry tomatoes or aubergine.
- A handful of sugar snap pea pods (optional)
- 50 ml olive oil
- 1 tablespoon grated parmesan
- 1 tablespoon soft goat cheese, crumbled
- Rock salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Baby leaf salad (spinach, rocket, lettuce, etc)
Preheat your oven to 180C (350F). Spread the vegetables on a baking tray with a lip and drizzle over half the olive oil. Sprinkle the vegetables with lemon zest and half a teaspoon eachof salt and pepper. Cut your lemon into quarters and squeeze on the juice, then toss the quarters in with the vegetables (you’ll get more juice from them when they’re cooked). Strip the leaves from the rosemary. Toss it all around and pop the tray in the oven for between 20 and 35 minutes, depending on if you’d prefer your vegetables still a little crunchy or cooked through.
Cook your pasta, strain it and toss it back in the saucepan. Take the vegetables out of the oven. Squeeze out the last of the juice from the lemon and throw the pieces away. Stir the rest of the vegetables into the pasta along with the parmesan and the rest of the oil. Taste and add extra seasoning. If it’s too sharp and lemony, try adding a little sugar or a spoonful of crÃ¨me fraiche for a creamier taste. At the last minute before you serve the pasta into bowls, stir through the crumbled goat cheese, the pea pods and a handful of baby leaf salad.