Courgette and Tuna Pasta
Living life at warp speed we all need some quick, tasty and healthy go to recipes which can be cooked with minimal thought and effort.
Enter my amazing Tomato & Veg Pasta Sauce!
A few days back I made a big batch of this amazing, tasty and versatile pasta sauce, portioned it up and froze for later. I know, with a little defrost-planning, I can have a great tasting healthy meal on the table in 10 minutes or so with this sauce as the base of a dish.
In this recipe I used my Tomato & Veg Pasta Sauce as a base for pasta dish with tuna and courgettes. It was a last minute thing. I had a sad lonely courgette in the fridge and found a tin of tuna in my store cupboard for protein. So this is another dish created out of 'the fridge is almost bare, but I'm just back from the gym and need to eat' necessity!
My tomato sauce was inspired by Jamie Olivers 7-Veg Tomato Sauce. I added an 8th veg (aubergine) as well as some yellow peppers (veg number 9), but held off on beetroot this time! This sauce is a great way to 'hide' veg and get valuable nutrients into young children. Sneaky!
For the Tomato & Veg Pasta Sauce, first you need to prepare and 'blitz' your veg of choice.
Peel and roughly chop 2 onions, 4 cloves of garlic, 1 red chilli (I like a bit of heat, if you don't, leave out), 2 leeks, 2 sticks of celery, 3 small carrots, 3 small courgettes, 2 red peppers, 2 yellow peppers, 1 aubergine and 1/2 a butternut squash. Then blitz in a food processor to shred the veg. The amount of veg to use is really dictated to by the size of your cooking pot. If you've got a super-size pot, go large on your veg to made a bigger batch for more portions for the freezer, and overall more time saved. Result!
Now to start cooking. Heat a glug of olive oil (about 2 tbs) in a heavy based large flame-proof casserole dish and add in the veg a handful at a time. Stir the veg around in the hot oil, then cook for about 30 minutes, stirring regularly until the veg is soft and almost cooked. Add in 4 tins of chopped tomatoes and an extra 'tin' of water, 1tbs of dried mixed herbs and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down and simmer for about 30 minutes until the sauce has reduced and the veg is soft and cooked.
Cool, then blitz in batches in the food processor or a liquidiser.
This made 8 generous portions, which I froze for future emergency 'I need healthy food fast' cooking!
For my pasta, courgette and tuna dish, I started off cooking pasta, according to packet instructions. I diced and sweated, in a small glug (about 1tbs) of olive oil, a small onion with 2 chopped cloves of garlic until soft.
Whilst the onion was softening, I cut my lone courgette into small chunks and added to the onion to cook for a few minutes, giving everything a good stir to make sure the courgette cooked evenly. Once the courgette had softened I added in one portion of defrosted veg tomato sauce, with a small can of drained tuna, 1tbs of capers and a good grinding of salt and black pepper.
I left everything to bubble away whilst I drained the pasta and added it to the sauce, giving everything a good stir.
So within 15 minutes I had a balanced, healthy tasty meal on the table. Result!