I have an obsession with giving my dishes names that end with “bowl” lately. Don’t believe me? Take a look at the following titles:
Strange, huh? I have no idea what that is all about. Maybe I am slowly going insane, as I have been suspecting for some time now. It must be some side-effect over obsessive-compulsive study habits that keep me from doing anything beside ruin my back sitting at the desk I have come to despise. I know, this is old news, and I promise at some point I will stop constantly referring to the horrific details of studying life, but as of right now, it’s my reality, so, I’m sorry, you’ll just have to deal with it. I have exactly 4 weeks before the first round of my exams start, so get ready for even more pity-party-talk in the coming blog posts. Just rest assured I will always follow up with a recipe, so you just need to “get through” this part, or, you know, dare to scroll down and skip the introduction lines of the post.
*gasp* I know, nobody does that. Do they? REALLY?
Anyways, let’s just skip analysing blog reading habits, and get straight to how I came up with this Pasta BOWL. I have this secret love of peas, which, sadly, my boyfriend doesn’t share. I think it may simply be nostalgia on my part, as in Tanzania, my mom used to make a (I suspect quite simple) tomato-pea pot served with rice, and I absolutely adored it. I fear if I presented my boyfriend with that, he wouldn’t really consider it a whole meal. As most of the time, I enjoy cooking things which I know he will also like, I figured I won’t get away with just making a simple pea dish…hence I mixed the peas with some button mushrooms and tomatoes, and even added in a bit of crunchy chicken, which is completely optional for all you veggies/vegans out there.
I used spelt spaghetti, of course, but feel free to use wheat or whole-wheat pasta…or even rice instead of pasta. This sauce works with any side!
Like I said, I’ll give you options for a vegetarian and/or vegan version, so make sure you read the brackets!
Button Mushroom Tomato Pea Pasta Bowl
- 500g (1 packet) spelt pasta (use only half or 2/3 if you don’t want any left-over pasta)
- 300g white button mushrooms
- 1 cup pre-cooked peas
- 12-15 cherry tomatoes
- 2 green onions
- 1 onion
- 2 garlic cloves
- 150ml vegetable stock
- 1 tsp. olive oil
- 40g goat’s cream cheese (for vegan version: use 1 1/2 Tbs. cashew butter, or 2 Tbs. of soy cream for a less “nutty” taste)
- 300g chicken breast (for vegan version: leave out, or use more mushrooms)
1. Heat water for pasta, don’t forget to add the salt, and cook pasta according to the instructions on the packet.
2. Dice your onion and chop the garlic cloves. In a pan, heat the oil. Dice your chicken, if you’re using it.
3. Once your oil starts sizzling, throw in the diced onion, stirring a few times, and then add the chicken and garlic. Salt your chicken lightly. You want your chicken to brown nicely. (If you are not using chicken, throw in the button mushrooms so that they can brown a bit, too.)
4. Now dice the mushrooms and tomatoes, and add them to the browned, crunchy chicken dice, as well as the vegetable stock.
5. Allow to simmer for 3-4 minutes, then add your precooked peas and the goat’s cream cheese (or vegan option). Turn down the heat, and stir until the cream cheese has dissolved into the rest of the sauce.
6. Taste-test to see if you need some salt and pepper. I added about 1 tsp. of salt and 1/2 a tsp. of pepper to mine, but, due to the goat’s cream cheese, a lot of flavor was already in the sauce.
7. Once the sauce is done, throw the two chopped green onions on top for garnish and a fresh “crunch”.
This sauce can be made in under 20 minutes, and your pasta (if you manage to pay attention to more than one pot) will be done in even less time. Serve while hot and steamy, and don’t try to take pictures – the steam will annoy you until the food is cold:
Have a good night, and let me know how you like this dish! It’s very quick and easy, low in fat, high in protein (if using chicken) and a lightened up pasta dish all-in-all, as it doesn’t have a super-heavy cream sauce!