The first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem. Hi, my name is Sydney and I am addicted to pasta. Angel hair, penne, elbow, lasagna, linguine… you name it, I want it in my belly now.
I struggle with my pasta consumption daily. My internal dialogue goes something like, “kinda want a bikini body, kinda want some Fettuccine Alfredo.” Guess which one usually wins?
Don’t you just wish pasta was good for you? Well, guess what? My dear ol’ dad is here to save the day. When I was a kid, my dad cracked the code to getting me and my siblings to eat our vegetables. Pair them with none other than noodles!
This pasta “salad” dish that my dad so cleverly invented is loaded with all sorts of the good stuff. There’s no cream, no mayonnaise, and just a *tiny* bit of cheese. Also, it calls for that Tricolor Rotini pasta that offers a “full serving of vegetables” per plate. Part of me thinks that’s all a load of bologna, but who am I to question the good and wise pasta people?
Don’t you feel healthier just by looking at this picture?
You’re going to start by sautéing your onions, mushrooms, and garlic in a heaping dollop of olive oil.
Once these guys are soft and your kitchen is smelling delightful, you’re going to pile on the fresh carrots and broccoli.
I don’t stir these bad boys in. Just let them rest on their soft little bed of cooked shrooms and onions.
There’s a special little ingredient that makes this dish all come together. Salty and with a little bit of kick, pepperoni joins the party to liven up this healthy ish pasta salad.
I just layer the pepperoni right on top. That way, when you begin to steam your pot, the juices from the pepperoni will trickle down and saturate the rest of the gang.
Cover your pot of goodies and steam everything for about 10-15 minutes. In the meantime, cook your colorful little noodles until al dente. Then comes my favorite part.
Give everything a happy little stir and another little drip or two of olive oil to coat.
Y’all know this “salad” isn’t complete without a healthy heap of fresh Parmigiano Reggiano.
There you have it, folks. It’s easy as that. A hearty pasta salad to please the masses. Noodles, veggies, cheese, and even some protein (pepperoni has protein, right?).
The absolute best part of this dish is how versatile it is. Roban thinks mushrooms are a product of satan, so she replaces them with cherry tomatoes and it is equally delicious. Throw in any veggie that tickles your fancy! Also, this pasta salad can be served at any temperature and still remain delicious. Hot, room temperature, or chilled… you just can’t go wrong!
Remember, this stuff is good for you. Go get you another bowl or five. I won’t judge.
Dad’s Pasta Salad
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow onion
1 1/2 cup sliced portobello mushrooms
1 tablespoon minced garlic
4 large peeled carrots, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
2 cups chopped broccoli florets
Half of a 6 oz. bag of pepperoni
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Salt & pepper to taste
12 oz. Tricolor Rotini
1 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
Warm 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and mushrooms. Sauté until soft. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add carrots and broccoli WITHOUT stirring. Layer pepperoni on top until vegetables are hidden. Cover pot with a steaming lid or just leave a crack to let steam escape. Lower heat slightly and let cook. Do not remove lid for 10-15 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook Rotini according to package instructions. Once pasta is al dente and drained, remove lid on veggie pot and stir. The broccoli and carrots should be soft. Flavor veggies with cayenne and salt & pepper. Add pasta and second tablespoon of olive oil and stir until combined. Top mixture with Parmigiano Reggiani and enjoy hot or let it cool and serve cold. Bon appetit!