Vegetable Stir Fry Recipe
It's only the hubby and me at home. Every time we have left-overs for dinner, I always end up eating them for lunch the next day. So, this vegetable stir fry recipe with elbow macaroni actually works well with me; as it yields 1-2 servings. (If you're cooking for more though, I suggest using chicken or vegetable broth for the added sauce.) Anyway, if you usually cook for 1 or 2, this dish may be for you, too.
In any case, this particular dish is purely vegetarian. (No meats.) However, if you prefer some meats in there, chicken and shrimps would be the perfect match. I used only the basic seasonings for this one. All you need are fish sauce, pepper and basil powder. If you have dried paprika, though; you'd add more aroma into the dish.
I also did not use any artificial flavors or MSG. I'm not fond of those. Most of the recipes I make are MSG-free; and I try to cook low-fat, low calorie meals. Rest assured that this recipe is definitely a healthy one. It's also filling to the tummy because of the pasta and the mushrooms.
I hope you enjoy it! I know I did!
I admit I may have gone overboard with the carrots. I was actually thinking of not adding them into the mix; but, I have already cut them and I don't want to waste good ingredients. You can opt to skip the carrots, if you want. However, they do add the sweet taste to the dish. Your choice.
- Garlic, crushed and chopped
- Elbow macaroni
- Mushrooms, cut
- Carrots (optional), cut
- Spinach, cut
- Cherry tomatoes, halved
- Olive oil
- Fish sauce
- Salt (for the macaroni)
- Basil powder
- Dried paprika (optional)
- Cook the elbow macaroni in salted water.
- Saute' the garlic in olive oil.
- Add the spinach stalks and carrots together with the garlic.
- Season the dish with fish sauce. Cover the dish and let it simmer under low heat.
- Add the cherry tomatoes. Stir well.
- Add water to prevent the pan from drying.
- Cover the pan to allow the cherry tomatoes create juices. Make sure that the pan is under low heat.
- Add the mushrooms and spinach leaves. Mix well.
- Season the dish with fish sauce, pepper and basil leaves. If you have dried paprika, toss 2 in the pan. Mix well.
- Add the pre-cooked elbow macaroni. Stir well.
- Turn the heat off and let the macaroni absorb the sauces in the pan.
- Serve while hot.
Why Put Salt on Water in Cooking the Pasta?
Believe me! You don't want just an al dente pasta. You want a flavorful pasta that goes well with your sauce. While the pasta sauce gives the pasta most of its flavor; the pasta itself has to taste like something, too.
Put salt on the pasta water so that the pasta may acquire taste. It adds to the umami-ness of the entire dish when you have a tasty pasta.
- If you are breaking the pasta noodles in half, stop. Enjoy a pasta meal with its long shreds. Pasta are lengthy for a reason. If they should be shorter, then they wouldn't have been sold in such lengths.
- If you put oil on the pasta water, stop. They are supposed to stick to each other. In fact, it's better that they stick so that when you mix them with your pasta sauce, the pasta can easily absorb the taste of the sauce.
Why Cook the Spinach Stalk with the Garlic?
Fresh spinach, when you buy them from the markets, still have roots. We throw away the roots; however, the spinach stalks, we cut. They are edible and equally nutritious as the leaves. The stalks are however stringy and harder to chew when not cooked well. To soften the spinach stalks, we cook them early on. Since there are no meats for this recipe, we add them together with the garlic; and the carrots (same reason as explained, obviously).