Spaghetti Primavera

I’ve been eating well this week.

And it’s all thanks to a conscious decision to—well, eat well. When I stock my kitchen with tons of fresh fruit and veggies, I find myself cooking tons more of them (duh) so that they don’t go to waste.

Last night’s dish was this thing:

And I’m calling it spaghetti primavera, for lack of any better idea (I don’t actually like the word spaghetti, for the record. You know how you just like some words and you don’t like others? Spaghetti is a non-favorite.)

Anyway, spaghetti (ugh! How many more times am I going to type this?) primavera makes this sound much fancier than it really is. I don’t even want to give you a recipe because I don’t want to insult your intelligence. It’s not really a recipe. This was me, jumbling together a bunch of vegetables in a tiny bit of olive oil until soft, then adding just-tender noodles and a liberal sprinkling of powdery, granular parmesan. Ta-da. A fairly balanced plate full of flavor with very little bad stuff (unless you want to count pasta. Let’s not.).

I really just wanted to share the photos. I’ve never tried photographing “real food” with the fancy camera, and it was actually a slight challenge compared to photographing baked goods. I still feel like my composition is lacking, but I like that you can see the texture of the noodles and each wrinkly pea in some of these (thank you, camera). Do any of these stand out as I WANT TO EAT THAT! (RIGHT NOW!)? I ❤ photography tips!

I just realized my photoshoot does include one single vertical shot. Poo.

Do you have any meals that are so easy you feel silly sharing them but are so delicious that you must?

(And if you want a walk through—NOT a recipe—of what I did, see more below :))

How I make pasta

What I used
4 oz. spaghetti (about a third of a box)
1 tablespoon oil, divided
2 tablespoons tomato sauce
half a calabaza squash (like zucchini), sliced
1 roma tomato, chopped
2 handfuls spinach, wilted
½ cup frozen peas
grated parmesan cheese
salt, lemon pepper, garlic powder, dried basil to taste

What I generally do with vegetables and pasta (this “walk through” assumes you don’t really know what you’re doing in the kitchen. Maybe you sleepwalked?):

I set a medium pan of water over high heat with a liberal sprinkling of salt to add flavor, keep the noodles from sticking, and sort of to make the water boil faster (although I don’t think I add enough to make it actually boil faster). While I wait for the water to boil, I’ll chop the tomato and zucchini or whatever vegetables I have. When the water boils, I’ll add the pasta, leaving the lid off, and let it cook at a medium boil (meaning you can see bubbles rising and popping) for ten minutes (depending on the pasta) while I wilt the spinach.

To wilt spinach, I find that I don’t need extra fat. I like to warm a frying pan on high, add the spinach, then turn the heat down to medium for about five minutes, stirring occasionally. You don’t even need a lid to keep the heat in, as I used to do. I like my spinach wilted quite a bit, until it turns a darker green and looks glossy with moisture. Just before it hits that stage, I add a pinch or two of salt, stir it in well, and immediately remove from heat.

Before or after wilting the spinach, depending on my mood, I’ll add a teaspoon or two of oil to the same frying pan over medium heat. After a minute or so, I’ll add the squash—it should sizzle when it hits the pan. I’ll fry it for about 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until browned and tender. Add a little salt and pepper and remove from heat.

Once the noodles are done, I pour them into a strainer in the sink and run a little cold water over them. Then I’ll heat up the pan I used to wilt the spinach, add a little oil (1/2 a tablespoon-ish), add the noodles and stir until they’re hot. This was the first time I added tomato sauce out of a can to spaghetti, but it was leftover from this dish. Stir until the noodles are coated. Add spinach, squash, tomato and frozen peas. Season with salt, pepper, garlic powder and dried basil to taste. Finish with parmesan cheese. EAT HOT!


19 responses to “Spaghetti Primavera

  1. Yeah I started out doing bad food photography too. I use a Nikon D60 and love it. Of course, for Instagram I use my iPhone and that takes some great pics too surprisingly. You on IG?

    • Ooh nice! I’m hoping to hit up a Best Buy or something on Black Friday to see if I can pick up a decent camera of my own. I am! I definitely did a lot of blog posts with instagram over the summer…I think my username is like e7bookworm. What about you? I’d love to follow you!

      • My name is the same everywhere…lol. You can find me on IG as Gourmand Chic 🙂 I will follow you back once you find me! And what camera are you thinking of getting?

        • Found ya! I’m not a hugely active Instagram user but looks like you have quite the following! Impressive 🙂

          Well I love the Nikon 1 I’ve been using, so I figure why not go with what I know? Wow it looks like it’s $650 normally, but like $450 on Amazon?? How is that possible? Anyway, I’ve never really gone Black Friday shopping and I’m a little apprehensive. But if I can get it any cheaper, I’m totally down to stand in lines all day! Lol.

          • I love love love Black Friday shopping. I usually need to “fight” for those deals I want but have been quite happy with some of my purchases. I do most of my xmas shopping on that day too!

              • Yeah, I have. Never bought a camera though. One Black Friday I went to Best Buy and got a Blue Ray DVD Player that was SO cheap. I tried the online Black Friday deals last year. Those work but you have to “pounce” literally. I got some stuff on Amazon. It just means beating everyone to the punch. I did a Walmart one. I usually get to the store at 4am!

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  4. Looks delicious & healthy. I think the pictures are great! What kind of camera did you use? I have a newfound interest in food photography and am thinking about purchasing an entry level DSLR but I don’t know how hard it would be to learn.

    • It’s a Nikon 1! And omgosh let me tell you–I was the biggest noob at food photography before I picked up a camera and I can’t say at all that I’m an expert now, but I think having the right camera + photoshop is SO. MUCH. BETTER. than what I was doing before.

      I’d really recommend the Nikon if you’re starting out because it’s not as huge and scary looking as other DSLR and it just feels like an easier camera to use, in my opinion. (Not that I’ve had much experience with others…) But if you can stomach the chunk it might take out of your wallet, I say go for it!! Learning is the fun part 🙂

  5. I think your pictures are great! I love the detail on the peas. I have a couple of main dish recipes on my site, but as you can tell from the photos, I didn’t know what I was doing and I used my iPhone (which didn’t help any). I agree with you and think that photographing baked goods is much easier! I’m afraid for when I have to photograph a dinner recipe, lol!

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