Thursday, March 15, 2012

Big Green Easy - Killer Pasta in 15 minutes

Hello friends!  How is everyone out there?  I hate being so slow to post things on here but people, we have been Busy (and that capital "b" was no accident).  As many of you know, Philippe and I have been working hard for the last couple of months on getting a bouldering gym started.  It began as a bit of fantasy and wouldn't-it-be-cool-if-we-could-do-THIS? and now it's actually happening.  I'm astonished.

For those of you who are curious, and feel free to skip this paragraph if you're not, bouldering is a type of rock climbing without ropes, over thick mats or "crash pads."  It involves short, intense routes that require the cultivation of focus, strength, determination, and technique.  It also, in the case of our gym, involves long lateral routes (traverses) that give the climber a playground on which to develop said strength, focus, determination, and technique.  What it doesn't require is all of the ropes, gear, and partners that regular rope climbing does.  Perhaps more significantly, it gives a person a stress free (and stress reducing) environment in which to fall in love with the movement that makes up this zen "sport."  In many ways, it seems more appropriate to refer to climbing as "a practice," the way one refers to meditation or yoga, because it involves so much quiet, interior work and because the practitioner can experience profound benefits and shifts in awareness over time, much as one does in meditation or yoga.  But it's also just fun and rowdy and dirty and physically challenging.   It can be lots of things to lots of people.  And we're opening a little gym in Montreal where people can check it out.  Yay! (

But enough about that!  We can get all philosophical about climbing another time.  The point is;  we're building this thing, and there are people to feed!  We're going into this business endeavor lean and mean, which is to say: we have a small budget.  In order to save on costs, we're feeding and housing our climbing wall builder, as well as our furniture-and-other-structures builder.  This is no small task in our one-bedroom apartment, and we're actually staying in a friend's spare room (thanks Raph!) to make room for everyone.

At the end of the day, there are big appetites and minimal time to spend in the kitchen.  Enter: The Big Green Easy! 
These are the not-gonna-get-hot ingredients
It's nothing fancy, and there's lots you could do to dress it up (like add garlic).  But it can be done in one pot, put together in 15 minutes, and it'll easily feed four hungry people, six if you serve something along side it.  And of course it's delicious and good for you, my favorite combination next to peanut butter and chocolate.

1 box spaghetti or linguine
2-3 heads of broccoli (with stems)
1 or two small zucchinis
3-4 giant hands full of baby spinach
1 cup sun dried tomatoes (I use non-oil packed)
Olive Oil
S&P to taste
1-2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • Start by roughly chopping the sun dried tomatoes and finely chopping the basil.  Place them in a large mixing bowl with the red pepper flakes, a pinch of salt, and about 3 to 4 tablespoons of olive oil.  Mix together and set aside. 
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to boil for the pasta.
  • While you're waiting for the water to boil (don't watch!) clean and chop the broccoli* and peel the zucchini into thin strips with a vegetable peeler.  Keep them separate as the only thing that's going to get cooked is the broccoli.  You can put the zucchini and the spinach on top of the oil/tomato/basil mixture.
  • Cook the pasta according to package directions, and add the broccoli to the water for the LAST 30 SECONDS before you drain it.  You just want to blanch it, not cook the crap out of it.
  • Drain the pasta and broccoli, giving it a light rinse to slow the cooking (or cool it completely if you're not going to serve it for a while).
  • Mix the hot broccoli/pasta combo with the room temperature everything else mixture.  The heat of the pasta will wilt the spinach just enough, and also the zucchini. 
  • Add more olive oil, salt and pepper to lube it up and suit your taste.  Enjoy!
* If you're new to broccoli stems, just cut off the gnarly bottom part, peel off the tough outer layer, and slice or dice up the tender inside.  It's great in salads, pastas, etc, and it's a super shame to throw it away.  Don't do it!

1 comment:

  1. Very delicious! We had some kale and some sugar peas and we took some fresh berry tomatoes! It's so tasty and simple! Thank you for this idea!