Penne With Color
Americans eat quite a bit of food without color. There is beige food everywhere. White or light bread, pasta with cheese, iceberg lettuce, and french fries. It’s comfort food. (Well, not the iceberg lettuce exactly…. )
If you’re looking for small steps in a brighter direction, you’ve come to the right place.
Here’s an easy philosophy to navigate the world of blah looking food. You can jolly well eat beige food once in a while, just put some redeemable color with it. Put spinach leaves or ripe tomato slices or grated carrots on that meat sandwich. Add chopped deep green Lacinato Kale to your lettuce salad.
Besides, if you eat bright color that grows in the ground — we’re talking red, green, yellow, orange and purple — nutrition is pretty much guaranteed.
So let’s take pasta, beige for sure, but an all American standard. You can make a fabulously beautiful and healthy version in under 30 minutes.
Penne With Color
Start by preparing enough pasta (your favorite kind) for 4 people. Set a timer so you notice when to check to see if it is done. If you want leftovers, double it or use more generous amounts of everything.
Red onion, yellow squash, collard greens (or chard, spinach or kale) and fresh garlic. Red Pepper and Artichoke Tapenade from Trader Joe’s. (If this is not available, use chopped red tomatoes). Feta cheese (can substitute Parmesan or Asiago or Goat).
While the pasta is cooking, saute the color:
1. A medium red onion, cut in chunky-ish pieces.
2. Diced yellow squash or two, depending on the size of the squash.
3. When the above two are almost done, add a small handful of chopped collard greens per person. Also, add a clove of garlic per person — and one extra for the heck of it. Take the clove of garlic and lay it on its side, and smash it. Then cut it in about four pieces. In other words, DON’T mince it. This flavors the dish well, but allows eaters to avoid chunks of garlic, should they choose.
Turn off the burner, toss all together, and let the greens wilt into the vegetables. This will steam the garlic a little bit, but don’t burn or brown the garlic. Cover with a lid for just a minute.
By now the pasta should be done. Drain and add to the vegetables. Toss well. Add a jar of Trader Joe’s Red Pepper and Artichoke Tapenade. Stir it into the pasta and vegetables. Serve Feta Cheese on the side and let each person top their serving with Feta, or the cheese of your choice.
And there you have it! Beige Food with all of it’s colorful and nutritious friends! You can also skip the Feta and add another protein of your choice — chicken, salmon, shrimp and so on. Be creative. Be flamboyant! Your tummy will be happy about the colors of the rainbow — to your body all that color is like the warm sun on a cold and dreary day!