Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Quick Fresh-Vegetable Pasta

Recipe updated June 2015

This is one of those quick, easy dinner recipes that lets you cook and clean out the fridge at the same time. Leftover vegetables make wonderful pasta sauces—light and healthful, too.

I’ve always got peppers, tomatoes, and garlic on hand, and with some leftover watercress and a leek, and one little Japanese eggplant, dinner was underway. I also had plenty of linguine in the cupboard, but you can use any kind of pasta you choose.

This recipe is freshness and simplicity at their freshest and simplest.

Note: You can easily substitute spinach, chard, or kale for the watercress.

Serves 4

  • 8 oz dry linguine
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 purple Japanese eggplant (about 4 oz), chopped
  • 1 leek, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
  • 3/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 3/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 2 lbs stem tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 loose cup watercress leaves
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano, for serving (optional)
  1. Heat a saucepan or deep skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil. Add the garlic, eggplant, leek, and green and red bell pepper and cook until beginning to soften, 8 minutes.
  2. Add the tomatoes and watercress and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the tomatoes begin to break down and release their juices, 9-10 minutes.
Eggplant Mixture Beginning to Cook
Tomatoes and Watercress Added 
Tomato Sauce after 10 Minutes
  1. Meanwhile, cook the linguine in boiling, salted water until al dente, 9 minutes. Drain.
  2. Add the pasta to the pan with the sauce and toss to coat.
Quick Fresh-Vegetable Pasta
Divide the pasta and sauce among 4 bowls and serve Parmigiano-Reggiano for grating at the table, if desired.

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