This was another case of someone telling me there was “nothing in the house to eat” and me shocking them with a big plate of food.
I found a slightly freezer burned package of Aidel’s Chicken and Habanero sausage hiding behind some inedible ice cream sandwiches. Perfect! There was also a quarter bag of mixed bell peppers that was mostly ice.
Scrounging around their pantry I also found some ancient lunch sized boxes of mixed purple and golden raisins and what turned out to be about a quarter cup of dried cranberries in a bag that was probably purchased by a previous girlfriend.
The fridge was mostly beer, empty pizza boxes, and a couple types of mustard, but for reasons they chose not to explain there was also a bunch of asparagus that was barely starting to wilt. It was front and center in the fridge, almost like a bouncer, there to both distract and prevent me from looking any further. See the asparagus! Don’t ask any other questions!This is the fridge of a health nut! You can tell because the entire middle shelf is taken up by nothing but (one bunch of) asparagus!
They offered to treat me to take-out and then we could go grocery shopping tomorrow. Pshaw, I said. I promised I could cook a meal from whatever I found and now I was ready to prove it!
Within an hour I had this pasta on the table. It’s not the sort of thing they ever would’ve cooked on their own, but at the end of the night there weren’t any leftovers!
Between us, this doesn’t need the sausage at all. I’ve been making herbed angel hair with fruit and peppers as my favorite quick and dirty vegan staple for years. Without the meat (real or fake) you can throw this together in 10 minutes. If you’re serving the kind of carnivores who say they can’t get full without meat on their plate then sliced sausage coins are the perfect addition.
Cook the coins in a separate pan so you can serve the same pasta to your vegan and carnivore friends.
- 1 box angel hair pasta
- 3 tbsp olive or other veggie oil, divided
- ¼ cup frozen bell peppers, chopped small (or 1 bell pepper,
- seeded and chopped)
- ½ yellow onion, sliced thin (optional)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced (optional)
- 4 tbsp (2 oz) mixed golden and purple raisins
- 2 tbsp (1 oz) dried cranberries
- 3 tbsp Herbes de Provance seasoning, divided
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- 1 bunch asparagus
- 1 package of Aidel’s Chicken and Habenero sausages (or Beyond Meat Bratwurst)
- Boil the pasta according to package directions. Honestly, bringing the water to a boil will take longer than cooking the angel hair itself. This goes fast.
- While the water boils, grab two skillets.
- Pour 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp Herbes de Provance (or Italian Seasoning), ½ tsp salt, and ¼ tsp pepper into one. Stir well, so everything is nicely mixed.
- Cut the bottom 2 inches off the asparagus.
- Toss into the skillet and coat well with oil. Cook over
a mediumheat, stirring occasionally,until it reaches your preferred doneness. For me, this takes about as long as cooking the pasta and fillings, but if one of your steps takes longer, just turn the heat down to low in order to keep the asparagus warm.
- While the pasta is boiling and the asparagus is cooking, heat 1 tbsp oil your other large skillet. If you’re using the onions, toss them in and cook over a medium heat for 3-4 minutes, or until they’re translucent. Add in the garlic and continue cooking for another 2 minutes.
- Toss in the bell peppers, raisins, and cranberries, and stir well. Sprinkle 2 tbsp of the Herbes de Provance (or Italian seasoning – use whatever you have on hand), ½ tsp salt, and ¼ tsp pepper into the skillet. Keep stirring for another 1-2 minutes.
- If you’re not using meat then your sauce is done!
- Turn off the heat. When your pasta is completely cooked, drain it completely (don’t rinse!) and dump it into the skillet. Pour your last 1 tbsp oil on top of the pasta and toss aggressively until the pasta is coated with oil and spices and the fruit and veggies are well integrated.
- If you want to add meat – real or fake – then push the pasta mix to one side of your
skiletand pile the cooked asparagus on the other side. Put a lid on it to keep everything warm.
- Grab the same skillet you used for your asparagus and add another 1 tsp olive or other oil.
- Cut your sausages into coins and cook over medium-high heat for 5-7 minutes, or until cooked through and beautifully browned on both sides.
- Pile your pasta mix into four large bowls. Divide the asparagus into four sections and lay it over the middle of the pasta.
- If you’re using meat, gently layer it on both sides of the pasta.
This is a light, easy meal you can make from angel hair pasta, olive oil, whatever herbs you find, and whatever scraps are in your fridge or freezer. Most people have an onion and some garlic lurking around plus a spice rack full of long expired herbs they got at Wal-Mart several Marvel movies ago. You can work with this!
Mix the angel hair, olive oil, herbs, (plus sauteed onion and garlic, if available) with your choice of the following:
- Green or purple cabbage, sliced thin, plus green and white scallions
- Butternut squash or stone fruit (peaches, nectarines, etc) – frozen is fine
- Frozen cherries, chopped, with rosemary and basil
- Dried cherries, blueberries, and crystalized ginger