SKILLET PASTA WITH SUN DRIED TOMATOES, WALNUTS AND FETA
A few weeks ago, I cooked a pasta dish that became my new favorite, One Pot Sausage and Sun Dried Tomato Pasta. I was in the mood for it again, and I had some sun-dried tomatoes, and instead of making the same recipe, I decided to make a vegetarian alternative. I added some toasty walnuts and a squeeze of fresh lemon and finished the dish with Feta as an alternative to Parmesan. The Skillet Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Walnuts, and Feta came out as straightforward and delicious as the original recipe and will surely make it part of my regular menu!
A TRUE PANTRY MEAL
What I like about this pasta dish most is that many ingredients are available in the freezer or pantry, making it easy to make even if you’ve not had the opportunity to visit the store and your cupboards are a bit empty.
I like to add a bit of Feta to my meals often, as it gives a punch of flavor. It can be costly. However, it is essential to utilize it sparingly. The remaining Feta can be frozen to use for future use. I prefer cutting my 8oz. Block into four 2oz. Squares. This is roughly what I usually make for each dish (sometimes it’s even smaller!). A tiny amount goes far.
I initially wanted to use pine nuts in this recipe, but they were out of my budget this time. If walnuts are expensive, you could cut out this ingredient and enjoy delicious pasta.
1/4 cup walnuts chopped ($0.76)
One tablespoon of olive oil ($0.13)
Two cloves garlic, chopped ($0.16)
1/2 lb of frozen broccoli. ($0.85)
2 cups vegetable broth ($0.28)
1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes ($1.00)
8 oz bowtie pasta ($0.75)
One fresh lemon ($0.75)
Pinch red pepper flake ($0.02)
2 oz feta ($1.25)
Chop the walnuts into an oven-proof skillet. Toast the nuts on a medium-low flame and stir frequently until they smell warm (1-2 seconds). Then, remove them from the pan and transfer them to an appropriate bowl.
Add the minced garlic and olive oil to the skillet, and increase the heat to medium. Sauté the garlic for approximately 1 minute or until it softens and has a pleasant aroma. Add the broccoli florets frozen to the skillet along with the garlic (no need to let them thaw) and sauté for around two minutes or until the broccoli has melted to a point. Transfer the broccoli to a bowl and add the walnuts.
Cut the tomatoes dried in the sun into small chunks or slices. Add the pasta and vegetable broth sun-dried tomatoes, about 1 Tbsp of juice from the lemon, and one pinch of red pepper flakes into the skillet and stir until it is all combined (the broth may not completely cover the pasta, and it’s okay). Cover the skillet and increase the heat to high. Let the broth be brought to a boil and then give the pasta some stirs, cover with the lid and lower the heat to a simmering level, and allow to simmer for 7 to 10 hours or so until the pasta has become tender and the majority of the broth has been consumed. Mix the pasta while it simmers every few minutes, and replace the lid to ensure the temperature.
As the pasta cooks, using a zester or a small cheese grater with a hole to remove the lemon’s zest is time. When the pasta is cooked, and only a bit of saucy liquid remains at the base of the pan, add the cooked broccoli and walnuts back to the skillet and stir until they are combined. Serve with Feta crumbled and lemon zest and serve.