It’s done in a flash and any number of vegetables can be used
ANOTHER light and easy vegetable dish this week. I can’t think about cooking or eating heavy food in this warm, dry weather, so a quick pasta dish without a creamy sauce or loads of meat ticks all the boxes.
This simple recipe relies on the freshness of the ingredients for its flavour; having said that, frozen peas are a great time-saver and I find it difficult to tell the difference between them and fresh peas these days.
Don’t be limited by the ingredients I have used; just about any spring vegetable is suitable. I’ve also used double-shelled broad beans, asparagus and broccoli with great success. If you need some protein you can also stir through a little smoked salmon or prosciutto just before serving.
There are few dishes not improved by lemon zest, in my humble opinion. I have a relatively new Eureka lemon tree in my garden. It’s currently covered with flowers and I have great hopes of a good crop later in the year.
I add a good squeeze of juice to most savoury dishes, while the grated zest adds zing without heat. Try to avoid the white pith when zesting a lemon.
Light and easy vegetable pasta INGREDIENTS:
◗ 250g uncooked spiral pasta ◗ 2 tbs olive oil ◗ handful of green beans, topped and tailed ◗ punnet cherry tomatoes, halved ◗ cup frozen peas, thawed ◗ 1 clove garlic, crushed ◗ cup white wine ◗ grated zest of half a lemon
◗ handful of fresh basil leaves ◗ salt and pepper, to taste
◗ fresh parmesan, to garnish.
Cook pasta in plenty of boiling salted water according to packet directions and drain.
While pasta is cooking, heat olive oil in a large heavy frypan over medium heat. Saute beans, tomatoes and peas for two minutes.
Add garlic and cook for a further minute; do not allow garlic to brown as it will become bitter.
Add wine and bring to the boil; deglaze pan and reduce by half.
Toss through pasta, along with the lemon zest and basil leaves. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately with grated parmesan.
Variation: Any spring vegetables can be used in this dish. Try double-shelled broad beans, broccoli florets, asparagus, capsicum or corn kernels.
Add smoked salmon or prosciutto if desired. Serves 2.
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REGULAR readers of this column will have seen Hugh the Neighbour and I refer to Goldilocks beers, those all too rare beverages that are “just right”.
As always, what constitutes “just right” is entirely dependent on the palate and tastes of the person doing the tasting, but usually what works for HTN also appeals to me. We had another Goldilocks moment last weekend only this was the other end of the spectrum, with one beer being too bland, and the other so fruity it tasted like juice rather than ale.
First up was the low-carb Tooheys Extra Dry, TED.
As the first beer after a day of domestic toil The Ted was most definitely welcome, but after the drink cut a trail down the gullet, and some thought was applied, it came up short for HTN and me.
You could get a faint hint of maltiness and hops, but really, there was not a lot there.
Possibly a beer for those who don’t like the taste of beer. The second beer was the latest invention from the usually on point team at James Squire.
Tall Tale Tropicana Spring Ale is touted by Hayden Morgan, the head brewer at Squire, as “a uniquely refreshing brew enhanced with tropical fruit and hops”.
“Enhanced” may be the understatement of the year. This beer reeks of passionfruit and guava, the hops certainly adding another layer of complexity to, for mine, an already overcrowded palate.
I know fruit beers have been around for a long time and remember with some fondness a Belgian cherry dessert beer.
But for Hugh and I the fruit completely overpowered the experience, which meant it was a beer to try as a novelty rather than settle in for a session.
The facts Tooheys Extra Dry:
4.4% ABV, 10 IBU, 345ml bottles, $18.50 a six pack, $43 a carton of 24. Available: almost anywhere. 4.5% ABV, 23 IBU, 345ml bottles, $15 a six pack, $53 a carton of 24. Available: Squire Brewhouses or through MoCU.com.au
Tall Tale Tropicana Spring Ale: