Some people make this dish when they are almost out of pasta and need to stretch the starchy portion of their dinner. Others make this recipe because it is absolutely delicious and very versatile. Cooks enjoy changing out the ingredients and experimenting with the different versions of pasta sauces and vegetables.
I love many of the versions, but your ideas are just as good as the those who created these recipes. Make this dish using your favorite ingredients, but it is recommended that you use red potatoes or fingerlings for the best flavor and texture.
1 1/2 pounds new potatoes or fingerlings
1 pound fresh green beans, (left whole) or broccoli, carrots or other fresh vegetables cut into large bite size pieces
1 pound spaghetti
1 1/2 cups pesto sauce, Alfredo sauce, puttanesca or red sauce
3 tablespoons parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup flavored bread crumbs
Garlic granules or powder
Salt and pepper
Bring four quarts of salted water to a boil in your large pasta pot over high heat. When it starts to boil, throw in the fingerlings or new potatoes. Keep the size small so cut them in half if they are too big.
Cook the potatoes until they are fork tender, about 13 minutes. Take out the potatoes with a large slotted spoon and put them into a pasta serving bowl.
Put the butter in a small frying pan on low until melted. Add in the bread crumbs and garlic granules and stir until mixed.
Do not drain your pasta pot; keep the water boiling.
Into the boiling water put your fresh vegetables and cook them until tender, about five minutes. You want them crisp so test one and remove them when they still have a snap. Put the vegetables in the bowl with the potatoes.
Now cook the spaghetti until firm but cooked through (al dente). Drain the spaghetti, immediately add it to the bowl with the potatoes and vegetables, add the sauce of your choice, salt and pepper to taste, and a small ladle of cooking water, about 2 tablespoons or so and toss well. Sprinkle grated cheese over the top of the bowl and lastly sprinkle the buttered bread crumbs over the cheese.
This is a hardy delicious meal that has many variations.
You can cook garlic and onions in olive oil until soft and stir them in the bowl with the other ingredients. You can use fresh chopped tomatoes either uncooked or gently sauteed until soft but not mushy. Sliced cooked mushrooms are also great in this meal.
It is delicious with grated cheddar cheese over a red sauce and topped with shreds of fresh basil. This is also wonderful with cubes of leftover meat like ham, chicken, turkey and bacon. Some potatoes, some pasta and your imagination can make this affordable dinner one you and your family will love.