July 30, 2006

The French Dip

Another favorite meal of ours that's recently made a comeback is the thinly sliced beef and carmelized onion sandwich most often called a French Dip. Served with a small cup of beef broth for dipping, it always feels special despite its simplicity.

This was a staple last year for us. I might get crucified for this, but for this sandwich, I actually use paper-thin beef that's meant for carpaccio. It's a bit expensive, but it's perfectly thin, very lean and just perfect for this quick meal. Really, you just have to show it the pan, et voila! It's done. The only problem is potentially overcooking it. In the States, I probably wouldn't use carpaccio, but instead shaved beef from the deli counter, very thin slices of steak, or even leftover pot roast.

A French Dip
with Roast Beef, Caramelized Onions, and Melted Swiss

1 pkg beef carpaccio (about 12 large slices)
enough thinly sliced beef, steak, or roast for 2

2 medium yellow onions, sliced
1 Tbsp butter
salt and pepper
tiny pinch of sugar, optional
2/3 cup grated Emmenthal, Gruyere, Swiss or Provolone cheese
pinch dried oregano or italian seasoning
2 cups good quality beef broth
1 baguette, or other crusty roll

Caramelize the Onions:
1. Cut the onions in half and slice. Melt the tablespoon of butter over medium heat in a stainless or ceramic pot. (My Le Creuset works great.) Add the onions and cover the pot. Let cook 5-10 minutes. Check to make sure the onions are sweating, but not browning at this point.
2. Remove the lid and add the salt, pepper and a pinch of sugar. Turn the heat up to medium-high. Stir the onions occasionally and make sure they are not scorching, but browning nicely.
3. If you find them browning too quickly, turn down the heat and add a few tablespoons of water while you stir. This will lift up some of the brown color into the onions and cool down the pot a bit. Let the onions cook until deeply colored, another 20 minutes, or longer.

Bring the beef broth to a boil in a wide pan. Once boiling, remove half of it and divide it between 2 small cups for dipping. Set these aside. Turn down the heat on the remaining broth so that it is just at a simmer. Gently lay 3-4 slices of carpaccio in the broth at a time and leave for 5 seconds, or just until the red color has almost disappeared. Remove quickly to a plate. Repeat with the remaining carpaccio.

If using leftover cooked beef, simply reheat it in the broth before assembling the sandwich.

Pile the caramelized onions, beef and cheese on your roll or baguette. Sprinkle with dried herbs. Place the open sandwich (with cheese on top) under the broiler for several minutes to let the cheese melt. Serve with the broth on the side. Serves 2.
I also served a quick Cucumber Salad with this. It's quite light and refreshing.
Slice 1 cup cucumbers and combine them with the following:
1/2 cup plain yogurt, 2 Tbsp creme fraiche or sour cream, 2 Tbsp chopped dill,
1 minced garlic clove, salt, pepper and chopped chives.
Refrigerate until cold.

July 28, 2006

A Refreshing Beverage...

Jennifer, over at The Weekly Dish, is compiling a list of favorite refreshing summer drinks. Her only stipulation is that it be liquid and alchoholic; a rule that I was happy to abide by! Since I'm living in Paris, a common drink here is the Kir or Kir Royale. Super easy and delicious, it makes a refreshing aperitif. The kir originates from Bourgogne and is named after the former mayor of Dijon, Félix Kir.
a very cassis-sy kir at Chez Prune on the Canal St. Martin,
usually they are lighter in color!

For a Kir:
Place a few tablespoons of crème de cassis in a small wine glass and fill with a dry white wine. The amount of cassis used depends on your taste, but a good ratio to keep in mind is 1-2 Tbsp for 6 oz. of wine. Since this is a burgundian specialty, use a Bourgogne Aligoté if you want to be true to tradition.

Since it's such a popular drink in France, there are many variations using different liquors. Most of the time when ordering one, you can choose between Cassis, Mûre (blackberry) or Pèche (Peach) liquor. I've also had a variation where a fruit purée was used instead of a liquor.

For a Kir Royale:
Place a few teaspoons of crème de cassis in a champagne flute and fill to the top with champagne or sparkling wine. I do enjoy this version better, but who wouldn't?

For something a little more raw and refreshing, I do enjoy a good Gin & Tonic, which always wins my vote for the easiest and most divine cocktail.

July 24, 2006

Tomato Bruschetta Pizza

I know this title sounds a little like something you'd find at the TGI Fridays, but for lack of a better name, that's basically what it is. I must say that one good thing about a hot summer is the plethora of great big, juicy tomatoes. Another good thing is minimalist cooking. Although I do have a bit of an itch to really get in the kitchen and make something impressive, most of the time I'm just as happy to leave the ingredients (and my stove) well alone.

For this simple supper, I chopped up 3 small tomatoes and 1 large clove of garlic, combined them with 2 Tbsp chopped basil and 1 Tbsp olive oil, as you do for bruschetta and piled it on a baguette with some mozzerella cheese. A few minutes under the broiler for the cheese to melt and you have a yummy Bruschetta...Tartine?!? Hey, that doesn't sound half bad. Bruschetta Tartine, it is. Once the tartines came out of the oven, I topped them with some arugula tossed simply with some balsamic vinegar and just a touch of olive oil.
I love tartines, by the way. Tartine is the French, all-encompassing word for an open-faced sandwich. The sky is the limit when it comes to breads and toppings, of course. I enjoy this knife-and-fork type of sandwich; it looks pretty and it feels very delicate no matter how high you pile it. It can be made from very simple ingredients, but it takes long enough to eat that it feels like a very satisfying meal! However, this tartine thing never really works for Paul. He'll fold it over and eat it with his hands if at all possible. Maybe it's a guy thing. Either way, we both loved our simple dinner last night.

July 21, 2006

Spinach Artichoke Dip

I was a skinny teenager. I hated mayonnaise, cream cheese, sour cream, dips, most condiments and a number of other good tasting stuff. I ate plain turkey sandwiches on wheat bread. Maybe with a lettuce leaf. I didn't eat much meat because it didn't taste that good to me. Instead, I ate a lot of bread, potatoes and sugar in the form of Coca-Cola. And ramen. I got used to receiving shit from people about my dislike of very likeable foodstuffs, but instead of trying these things, I thought well of myself for not eating these "fatty" ingredients. Why do I want sour cream on my taco, anyway? It's just extra fat. It's good that I don't like it. What can I say? I was raised in a time when no-fat meant healthy.

I've been gradually falling in love with all kinds of new foods for several years now, but one pivotal moment came 4 years ago when Paul and I had just moved in together. We loved having friends over, entertaining, having potlucks and cocktail parties like adults do... It was a very fun time in our lives. Welcoming people over to our apartment was, I suppose, our 22-year-old's way of saying, "Look! We're us now; we're adults." It was a wonderful time because we had wonderful friends. Especially Adam, who would bring his sinfully good crock-pot spinach and artichoke dip to our parties. It was a turning point in food for me. I LOVED this dip, (and I hated cream cheese!) Since then, I'm no longer afraid of dips. So thank you, mon ami.

Of course, by now, I've eaten enough cream cheese to make up for the 22 years or so without it and discovered how great many other foods are, too. If you don't know me, you might expect this story to finish with me weighing 300 pounds and reminiscing about the days before I knew how delicious mayonnaise was. Well, thankfully, that's not the case. Ignorance was not bliss, though. I'm so happy that I'm more adventurous when it comes to trying new things, and it all started with some spinach artichoke dip and is continuing in France. Why, just the other day I tried gesiers de volaille (chicken gizzards) and snails! Not bad.

Of all the things I've talked about on this blog, this is the one recipe I can't urge you enough to try. In fact, I'm going to make it in a big vat and start distributing door to door, hence making everyone's freaking year. Trust me. Make this.
Adam's Spinach and Artichoke Dip

2 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese
1/3 cup cream (half & half is fine)
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1/2 - 3/4 cup grated monterey jack or swiss (some pepper-jack is great!)
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp onion, minced
1 (15 oz) can artichoke hearts, chopped
1 cup chopped frozen spinach, thawed
freshly ground pepper
Tabasco sauce or cayenne pepper, to taste

Combine first 6 ingredients in a saucepan over medium low heat. Once the cream cheese has softened a bit, stir in artichokes, spinach and rest of ingredients, adding enough cream to loosen it a bit. Keep stirring over low heat until all the cheeses are melted and the ingredients well incorporated. Sometimes I add some paprika or garlic powder, too. Serve immediately, or place in a casserole dish and put in a 350 degree oven for 20-30 minutes.

Adam mixes all the ingredients together (except the Monterey Jack cheese, which he adds about 25-30 minutes before the end) and places it in a crock pot for 2 hours. How he waits that long, I do not comprehend!

Serve with sliced vegetables and baguette slices for dipping. Serves one Mégane, or maybe 6-8 people.

July 19, 2006

The Heat is On...

It's hot in Paris. Very, very hot. I think today it will reach 37 degrees C (98 degrees F). Thankfully our belle apartement is on the top floor and sports what our landlord calls "Mexican air-conditioning." (No one ever said the French were PC.) Anyway, there is a nice breeze that comes through when it chooses to. However, at the moment, there is no breeze and a lot of sunshine beaming in. All I am capable of doing is sitting in front of the fan with my legs wide open. I really never knew I could sweat so much before living in France. Spoiled, how spoiled I was with air conditioning! I was usually the fool who was too cold and curled up on the couch with a blanket complaining of goose bumps. Now I can sit starring at the wall for an hour until my brain melts and starts oozing out my ear. The only activity I can muster is to refill my water glass from the precious refrigerated bottles we now obsessively empty and refill, empty and refill...

We did manage to walk to a boulangerie for some bread this morning. Most of the time, we'll hold hands while we walk and chatter on about something, but this morning each attempt to lovingly touch one another was met with a pained look of weakness. "Don't you touch me with your sweaty hands! As soon as your skin touches mine it feels 10 degrees hotter! Ack!"

Even as I type this I can feel the heat from my keyboard so I must stop soon and go back to my useless drooling and laying about. We've both been taking long naps in the afternoon, but it might be more aptly called passing out. Luckily last night's dinner was easy to put together. I made a Taco Salad, which thankfully has little on-the-stove time. It's one of our favorites!

This is also an opportune time to tell you about my favorite salsa. It's hot, but not so much that you can't taste the other flavors. It's the Smoked Jalapeño Salsa from Pain is Good. I found it at my local grocery store in the US. It has a lot of chipotle flavor and I love to mix it into any kind of taco or burrito filling. It is fantastic on nachos or in Spanish rice, too. And, of course, in this Taco Salad.

Salsa: Batch #218 Smoked Jalapeno Salsa by Pain Is Good

Taco Salad with Chicken and Spicy Black Beans

I see it in 3 parts.
Part 1 - Black Bean "salsa" (for lack of a better word)
Part 2 - chicken, cheese, tortilla chips, fresh tomatoes and other toppings
Part 3 - lettuce and dressing

The black bean salsa:

1/2 medium red onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup corn, (fresh, frozen or canned)
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
pinch of cinnamon
garlic powder, optional
1/4 tsp ground cayenne
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
3 Tbsp salsa (see above)

Saute the onion in a little olive oil. Add the bell pepper and the spices. Cook over medium heat for 3-5 minutes. Stir in the corn, black beans, salsa and a few tbsp of water. Let this simmer another 2-3 minutes. Stir in the cilantro and set aside.
2-3 cups romaine lettuce
simple oil and vinegar (or citrus juice) dressing
3/4 cup shredded roasted chicken
1/2 cup grated cheddar, optional
1/2 tomato, diced
1/2 ripe avocado, sliced
handful of tortilla chips
extra salsa and sour cream

Toss the lettuce lightly with oil and vinegar and arrange betweeen 2 plates. Top with about 1/2 cup of the warm black bean salsa, some diced tomato, sliced avocado, half the chicken and some grated cheese. Crush a few tortilla chips and sprinkle those around the plate. Finally, top with some salsa and sour cream. You could even leave out the chicken for an excellent vegetarian salad. Serves 2.

July 17, 2006

Spicy Peanut Pasta

I hadn't made this peanut sauce for about 6 months until a few weeks ago when my friend Tina came over to watch France beat Portugal and go on to the final game with Italy. Tina is lactose intolerant so I was racking my brain for a special yet easy dish sans fromage or cream. I remembered how much I loved this pasta and decided it needed a comeback.

This recipe gets its inspiration from about 3 different recipes. Rachael Ray made a good looking chicken satay stir-fry that I liked, but it was a bit too sweet or something. I looked around and found a few other variations for satay-type sauces and this concoction is great since the ingredients are most likely in your cupboard. You can use this sauce as you would for a stir fry and serve it over rice, but I really enjoy it more over pasta. Feel free to swap the vegetables or meat with whatever you'd like. I've used leftover pork tenderloin instead of the chicken and I bet it's great with beef, too.

Spicy Peanut Pasta with Chicken and Veggies

1/2 lb. linguini
2 chicken breasts
1 carrot, peeled and thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced

2 thin green onions,
optional, sliced

Peanut Sauce:

1 cup chicken broth

1/2 cup to 2/3 cup peanut butter

2-3 Tbsp honey

2-3 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
1-inch chunk ginger, peeled and grated

3 Tbsp garlic, minced

1-2 Tbsp red chili paste

a few dashes tabasco or other hot sauce

juice of 1 lime wedge

1/3 cup chopped cilantro (coriander), divided

First make the peanut sauce. Combine the first 6 ingredients in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Whisk until smooth. Add the chili paste and/or Tabasco and stir until combined. Taste for seasonings. Add more chili or tabasco for more heat. I've never used natural peanut butter in this, but I would guess you will need more honey if you use that. The sauce will seem thin at first, but it thickens as it cooks. Don't boil the sauce but keep warm. Stir in the lime juice and half the cilantro just before serving.

Saute the chicken breasts in olive oil for about 5-7 minutes per side, or until done. Remove to a plate and slice thinly.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt it generously and cook the pasta according to the package directions. I enjoy the texture of linguini, but you can use whatever pasta you like. I do find that angel hair is too thin for this sauce which is rather thick.

In a large bowl, combine the chicken, veggies and pasta. Mix well. Pour enough peanut sauce over the pasta to just coat it and toss the pasta well. Plate the pasta with a few strips of chicken on top and a sprinkling of the remaining cilantro. Serves 3-4.

July 14, 2006

Zucchini and Tomato Quiche

I guess I've been in a Provencal mood lately. I was craving another easy way to eat up some vegetables. Since I feel like I've finally mastered making quiche without needing a recipe, this was a snap to put together. Summer zucchini and tomatoes pair so well together! Plus, with all the tart inspiration going on over at Cream Puffs in Venice, I've had them on my mind!

Quiche aux Courgettes et Tomates:
Zucchini and Tomato Quiche

2 medium zucchini, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
2 tomatoes, thinly sliced

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

2 eggs

1/3 cup creme fraiche
3/4 cup milk or cream (approx)

salt and pepper

2/3 cup grated Cantal cheese
(use any cheese you like, but Cantal was great and different)

1 puff pastry crust (pâte feuillet
or normal pâte brisée is fine, too.

Saute the zucchini and bell pepper in a little olive oil over medium high heat. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat when they are just slightly softened and set aside to cool.

In a mixing bowl, beat together the eggs, creme fraiche and milk. Add up to 1 cup milk or until you feel that it's enough to fill the quiche. Season with salt and pepper.

Unroll your puff pastry onto your pie plate. Prick the surface with a fork, especially the extra pastry hanging over the sides. Use several paper towels to soak up any excess water from the zucchini and then layer them in the bottom of the quiche. Sprinkle the basil over the zucchini and top with the red peppers. Pour the egg mixture over the vegetables. Sprinkle the cheese evenly over the top. Slice the tomatoes very thinly, again using paper towels to dry them a bit, and arrange the tomatoes in one layer over the quiche.

Fold the extra pastry in towards the center so that it just rests on the filling. I think this is the prettiest presentation; it holds together so nicely. (Isn't that fancy fluted edge always getting too brown, cracking and falling off anyway? This folded over edge is actually eaten!) Bake in preheated 200 degree C (400 degree F) oven for about 35 minutes.

July 9, 2006

Yogurt Cake with Pears and Ginger

"My doctor told me to stop having intimate dinners for four.
Unless there are three other people."
-Orson Welles

I have to stop myself from eating 4 servings of this cake! This cake has been spinning around in my mind for a few weeks now. I do love a good yogurt cake for le goûter, or afternoon snack, and I hadn't made one for awhile. Plus, after seeing this pear and ginger cake at La Tartine Gourmande, I couldn't wait to sample the taste of fresh ginger in a cake! The result was fabulous and I'm proud to say the whole thing was devoured by me and my friends, over several days, of course. So, see? I waited for 3 other people.

The hint of ginger is just right - not too much, but enough to just detect its presence. The pears match wonderfully with the ginger and their texture is just lovely. The only thing I would change would be to layer the pears in the batter or on top. This time I just placed the pears in the pan and poured the batter over them, so, of course, that's where they stayed! Dust the top with a little powdered sugar and you have an incredibly easy and delicious cake that's perfect for brunch, tea time or afternoon snack. If you serve it for dessert, make it a small portion with a small scoop of good vanilla ice cream. I actually think it's a bit heavy for an after-dinner dessert, so just eat it all before dinner. You have my permission.

Gâteau au Yaourt aux Poires et au Gingembre:
Yogurt Cake with Pears and Fresh Ginger
(recipe adapted from Clotilde and Bea
at La Tartine Gourmande)

1 cup plain, unsweetened yogurt
2 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp (yes, Tbsp) baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
1 Tbsp light rum
2-3 almost-ripe pears
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C (350 degrees F). Generously butter and flour a 9-in pie plate. In a medium mixing bowl, lightly beat the 2 eggs. Whisk in the yogurt, oil and sugar until smooth. Add the vanilla extract, run and fresh ginger. In another bowl, combine the sifted flour and baking powder. Gradually stir in half the flour mixture into the wet ingredients until just smooth. Stir in the rest gently but do not overmix the batter. The mixture will thicken quite a bit.

Peel the pears and dice them into approximately 1-inch pieces. You want enough to make one fairly crowded layer, but not more. Layer half the batter in the bottom of the pan. Spread the pieces of pear in one layer over the batter. Spread the rest of the batter over the pears. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Dust with powdered sugar upon eating.

One of the easiest cakes to make - and always rewarded with "oohs!" and "aahs!" and maybe, if you're lucky, an "oh la la..."

July 7, 2006


I have a tendency to make some dishes so often that it causes my husband to utter, "hon...I don't really like _____," which I understand to mean, "I don't really like ____ anymore because we've been eating it every week for 2 years." These dishes are then mentally filed under Megan's lunch recipes so that I can still enjoy them without forcing them on him.

Quesadillas have sadly fallen into this category but I still happily make them for myself whenever I can.
What can I say? Quesadillas are perfect for leftovers. I'll throw just about anything in there! They are so damn easy and delicious. Here are two of my favorite versions.

The first combines spicy chorizo, red peppers, onions and sweet corn. The second I've been making for years. I crave this combo of grilled chicken, black beans, diced avocado (yes, inside the quesadilla!), a bit of red onion and chipotle salsa. Enjoy!

Chorizo, Corn and Red Pepper Quesadillas

1/2 tsp olive oil
4 flour tortillas
chorizo, sliced thinly
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/4 red onion, finely chopped
2 Tbsp corn, canned or frozen
1/2 cup cheddar, emmenthal, or other cheeses of your choice
3 Tbsp salsa, plus more on the side
1/3 cup red or black beans, optional
crème fraîche or sour cream, on the side

In a large skillet, pour in a nickel-sized drop of olive oil and take one flour tortilla and swish it around in the oil until there is a thin layer over the whole surface. Place a second tortilla on it to absorb some of the oil, so you have 2 tortillas with oiled sides. Place one tortilla, oiled side down, in the skillet over medium high heat. Layer the chorizo, onion, bell pepper, cheese, beans and salsa on the tortilla and cover with a second tortilla, pressing down to seal the quesadilla a bit. After 3 minutes or so, lift up the underside of the quesadilla to check if it is golden brown and crisp. When it is, use a large spatula to carefully flip the whole thing over and brown on the other side, about 3-4 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Repeat the process with second quesadilla. Serve with additional salsa and crème fraîche. Serves 2.
Chicken Quesadillas with Black Beans, Avocado, and Red Onion

4 flour tortillas (burrito/fajita size)
1 cooked chicken breast, thinly sliced
1/2 ripe avocado, diced into small pieces
1/3 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 small red onion, finely chopped
3-4 Tbsp. salsa (I love a smoky-flavored chipotle salsa!)
1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar or monterey jack

In a large skillet, pour in a nickel-sized drop of olive oil and take one flour tortilla and swish it around in the oil until there is a thin layer over the whole surface. Place a second tortilla on it to absorb some of the oil, so you have 2 tortillas with oiled sides. Place one tortilla, oiled side down, in the skillet over medium high heat. Layer 1/2 of the chicken, beans, avocado, onion, salsa and cheese on the tortilla and cover with a second tortilla, pressing down to seal the quesadilla a bit. After 3 minutes or so, lift up the underside of the quesadilla to check if it is golden brown and crisp. When it is, use a large spatula to carefully flip the whole thing over and brown on the other side, about 3-4 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Repeat the process with second quesadilla. Serve with additional salsa and crème fraîche. I find that even when I don't have any leftover chicken, the black beans and avocado alone make a yummy vegetarian quesadilla. Serves 2.

July 3, 2006

Provençal Pasta

So much of our inspiration for recipes comes from meals we’ve had in restaurants. I’m sure most cooks (especially those with a blog about food!) feel the same. When I see food prepared well, I’m usually very excited to try and recreate it, and improve on it if I think I can.

This is especially true for my husband. He recently ate a pasta dish at a little café and he came home raving about it. He went on about it since it was so different than most Italian flavored pasta sauces. This one was tomato based, but seasoned with herbes de provence. It also had ham and onions, so he thought. I suggested that he try and recreate the dish for me since I knew I’d love it.

Herbes de Provence is a dried mix of herbs, usually including thyme, marjoram or oregano, rosemary, basil and savory, with optional additions of lavender, fennel, tarragon and chervil. You can make your own or buy a mix, just watch out for ones containing salt. It tastes especially great as a rub for pork chops.

Paul’s pasta recipe turned out to be one of the yummiest pastas I’ve had. It felt very Provençal and the flavors were perfect for summertime. He added chopped red bell pepper, onions, and zucchini to the sauce, and kept the ham as well. We concluded that sliced mushrooms would also be a great addition. This is really as easy as making a simple marinara but substituting Provençal herbs for the Italian ones and throwing in some veggies.

This is also going to be my addition to ARF/5-a-day Tuesday over at Sweetnicks. She puts together a great weekly recipe roundup of recipes filled with fruits, vegetables and antioxident rich foods.

Paul's Provençal Pasta

2 cups dried short pasta (penne, macaroni, rotini, etc)
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 small red or yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 Tbsp ground dried herbes de provence
(or less if using dried but not ground)
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
2 cups crushed tomatoes
Salt and pepper
2 slices ham, chopped
2/3 medium zucchini, diced
1 small red bell pepper, thinly sliced
½ lb. sliced white mushrooms, optional
Grated parmesan

Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan. Add the onion and garlic and cook until onion is translucent. Add the herbes de provence and cook 1 minute. Add the crushed tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Add some salt and pepper. Taste and add more herbes de provence if the flavor isn’t pronounced. Let this sauce cook for about 10 minutes while you prepare the vegetables.

In a separate sauté pan, heat a tsp of oil and sauté the bell pepper and zucchini until just tender but still slightly crisp. Lightly salt the vegetables. Remove from skillet and sauté the mushrooms in the same skillet, if using them.

Add the chopped ham and basil to the tomato sauce and stir well. Turn down to low and keep warm. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it well. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions. Drain well and toss with the pasta sauce and vegetables. You can add a little pasta water to the sauce if it's too thick. Sprinkle grated cheese on top and dive in! Serves 2-3.