Spicy Tomato Pasta

I’m a huge fan of grab and go lunches. I love a fresh salad at lunchtime, but the extra 7 minutes it takes to pack one usually guarantees that I will be 7 minutes late for work. Pack it the night before, you say? I have yet to master that. Soggy, dark spinach makes me sad and usually ends in skipping lunch all together or ordering takeout. Solution: making a week worth of lunches on Sunday so all I have to do in the morning is grab a container, a fork, and a piece of fruit.

Lunch this week: Spicy Tomato Pasta.

Spicy, cheesy, tomatoey noodles? I’m in! (Note: tomato haters need not apply. This is not one for you.)

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All lined up and ready for the week! I’m like a proud mother on the first day of kindergarten.

As a tomato lover, I fully endorse this recipe. Depending on what’s in season, you can really play with the other veggies. In this version, I only have mushrooms, but I have added peppers, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and spinach before.

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This week I ended up with a mishmash of grape tomatoes from the week. One container was purchased for this recipe, one was left over from a different meal, and one was a baggie of tomatoes from a friend’s garden. Not a single tomato went to waste this week.

Total prep and cooking time for me was about 25 minutes. There’s a fair amount of prep work depending on the veggies you use. Simultaneously watching an episode of Parks and Rec doesn’t speed things up either.

Step 1) Prep your veggies

Step 2) Get your sauce cooking

Step 3) Cook your pasta according to the package directions. I tend to cook mine more on the al dente side since it will be reheated in a microwave at work. Make sure to keep some of the pasta liquid.

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Step 4) While everything is cooking, shred your cheese if you are using block cheese. I hope you are using block cheese.

Step 5) Combine! Dump your veggie sauce into your noodles, add your cheese, and stir.

Serve and you have a delicious masterpiece.

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Spicy Tomato Pasta

Servings: About 10, 1 1/2 cup servings (lunch portion)

Ingredients:

  • 1 box of your favorite pasta, can be white, whole wheat, really whatever
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • 3 pints grape or cherry tomatoes – I added on vine tomatoes to this recipe too but this is optional, any variety of tomatoes and sizes is fine
  • 1 package mushrooms
  • 1 cup freshly grated parmesan or asiago cheese
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil or similar
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes (more if you like it spicier, I always start small and add more to taste)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Note – feel free to add whatever veggies your like! You might have to adjust your cooking time and add them first, remember, mushrooms and Brussels sprouts do not cook at the same rate.

Directions:

  1. Begin by prepping your veggies. Cherry and grape tomatoes can be left whole, but any larger tomatoes should be cut in fourths or eights. Dice garlic and cut all other veggies to bit size. (Mushrooms were cut in fourths for this recipe.)
  2. Get out 2 large pans or stockpots. In one pan get enough water boiling to cook your entire box of pasta. Add the oil to the other pan and heat over medium-low heat.
  3. Cook pasta according to package directions. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water before straining. Strain and set aside.
  4. Once oil is heated, sauté the garlic until fragrant, being careful not to burn
  5. Once garlic is fragrant, add tomatoes, mushrooms, red pepper flakes, and a pinch of both salt and pepper to the pan. Combine
  6. Cook covered, stirring occasionally. Cook until some of the grape tomatoes start to burst. Once this happens, use a spoon to burst (squish) about half the tomatoes. You want a sauce with some whole tomatoes left.
  7. Once cooked, add your sauce mixture to your cooked pasta in whichever pan will be able to hold all.
  8. Add grated cheese and combine. Add more salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes as needed.

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