Italian Wonderpot

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

I take my lunch and breakfast to work every day. And every day it's the same routine. I get to my desk at 9, breakfast has disappeared by 9:02, and every minute after 10 I wonder if it's OK to make lunch disappear too (it's a miracle if I make it to 11:30). Last week's lunch docket was so terrible I made it to noon some days — microwavable rice with green beans, cream cheese sandwich, canned soup I'd never wish upon you.

I'm a huge proponent of bringing lunch to work, buying it seems like a waste. I like for food to be an experience, and grabbing a quick bite at a nearby restaurant alone isn't one I enjoy. There's also the financial aspect. I had dinner plans almost every night last week, and I can't afford to buy lunch and dinner out every day. But I was too busy to grocery shop and cook. Are you feeling sorry for me yet? Cream. Cheese. Sandwich. 

So on Saturday morning I spent less than 20 minutes and less than $10 making eight servings of one of the best pasta dishes I've made. The recipe says it's six servings, but I'd bet it'll be more for you, too. And it honestly couldn't be easier to make. You dump everything into one pot (a gift from the cleaning gods) and watch it do it's thing. There's minimal stirring involved. I couldn't resist eating a serving (or two) that day, but I've frozen the rest and I've been eating it for lunch at 10:15 every day at work since. 

Ingredients (serves six-eight):
4 cups vegetable broth
2 tablespoons olive oil
12 ounces fettuccine 
8 ounce bag frozen chopped spinach
28 ounce can diced tomatoes 
1 medium onion 
4 cloves garlic
1/2 tablespoon dried basil
1/2 tablespoon dried oregano 
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
freshly cracked black pepper to taste
2 ounces feta cheese *optional; left out this is a vegan recipe 

Add four cups of vegetable broth to a large pot. Break the fettuccine in half to make stirring easier later, then add it to the pot. Also add the canned tomatoes (undrained), olive oil, frozen spinach, onion (thinly sliced), garlic (thinly sliced), basil, oregano, red pepper and some freshly cracked pepper. 

Make sure the ingredients are submerged under the liquid, place a lid on top of the pot, then turn the heat on high. Allow the pot to come up to a full, rolling boil over high heat, then remove the lid and turn the heat down to medium. 

Allow the pot to continue to boil over medium heat, without a lid, for 10-15 minutes, or until the pasta is cooked and most of the liquid has absorbed. Stir the pot every few minutes as it cooks to prevent the pasta from sticking to the bottom, but avoid over stirring, which can cause the pasta to become sticky and mushy. 

After the pasta is cooked, crumble the feta cheese over top and serve.

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