Noni’s Garden Pasta with Feta and Summer Vegetables

When I launched Nomadly in Love a few weeks ago, my very good friend Corrin, who goes by Fresh Princess on her popular YouTube cooking channel, asked me to collaborate with her. I was honored, of course, but more than that, I was touched by her immediate desire to do what she had in her power to support me: share her audience.

There was no competition or ego-clash, just love. 

When I was deciding what to cook together, I wanted to pick something that would appeal to both my readers and her viewers. Corrin’s famous for demystifying exotic or complicated recipes–like making beet kvass or vegetarian faux-gras–by clearly explaining and showing the process on her short videos. My intention is more to class-up really easy, every-day dishes that are both quick and simple to make on the road. Both of us love fresh ingredients and rarely, if ever, cook with meat, so that part was easy.

After briefly considering spicy Kimchi-Tempeh Tacos and a hearty Tortilla Bean Soup, I decided to choose Noni’s Garden Pasta with Feta and Summer Vegetables.

Noni's Pasta

I learned this dish from Tree’s mom, Angela, and instantly put it into my menu-rotation. It’s the quintessential “kitchen sink” meal–and therefore a great nomad meal–plus it’s full of vibrant colors and interesting contrasts in flavors and textures. A tried-and-true crowd pleaser with gourmet touches.

And Soleil loves it. Perfect!

Soleil smiling

Soleil eating

I divided the ingredients up into two camps: Essentials and Variables

Essentials: feta, kalamata olives, tomatoes–both sun-dried and fresh (and obviously pasta)

The most important contrast of flavors come from the salty feta and olives against the sun-ripened tomatoes, and you need the ripe fresh tomatoes (or a can of diced) to add some juiciness. After that, you can play around. What’s nice, too, is that feta keeps for a longtime in the fridge, especially when it’s packed in brine, and if you have a little storage area, you can always keep a can of diced tomatoes, a bag of sun-dried tomatoes (I love Trader Joe’s brand), and a jar of olives on hand.  

For spices, I really like what the fennel seed and fresh basil bring to the dish, but I’ve made the dish without either when I occasionally couldn’t find them at various ‘mercados’ in Latin American countries. Thus, I put these between camps as ‘kind of essential.’ 

Variables: broccoli, peppers, eggplant, spinach, kale, onion, mushrooms, radicchio… you can’t go wrong

The vegetables can vary depending on what you have in the fridge. If possible, I try to pick a variety of colors (red, yellow, green, purple), textures (crunchy, spongy, leafy), and flavors (sweet, umami, bitter). But, sometimes I just take what I can get and let the essentials work their magic.  

Prepped vegetables

Below are the two videos that Corrin and I made together for Fresh P.  At first I cringed at seeing myself on camera. Do I always talk that fast? I need subtitles. What the hell is going on with my hands? And why are my shoulders hugging my ears? I look like a maniac! 

But then I stopped worrying about what I might look like to others and decided to remember how it felt to hang out with my beautiful friend and cook together.

Stevie and Corrin Laughing

 It’s a simple thing–being together, chopping, dicing, cooking, squeezing past and reaching over each other, talking, giggling, sipping wine–but the effect is profound. There’s a soulful intimacy that fills a kitchen like a heady aroma, its sweet fragrance filling me up, reminding how good it feels to understand,  be understood, and care for one another with such a tangible and universal form of nourishment: food. 

The first video is the actual recipe. And the second video is what happened in between: The Girl Talk. The giggly, silly, girl talk. 

As if I don’t have enough media crammed into this post, here’s a song by The Modern Lovers called “Girl Friend” because “that’s something that I understand.”

 

So, without further ado, the recipe.  If you don’t have a friend with whom you can drink wine  and cozy up to in the kitchen while you make Noni’s pasta, play this song or the videos and enjoy!

Note: This pastas tastes GREAT cold the next day served over an arugula-radicchio mix. 

Pasta leftovers with arugula salad

Noni's Pasta with Feta and Summer Vegetables
Serves 6
This pasta dish has tons of fresh vegetables, various textures, vibrant flavors, and an addictive can't-stop-eating-it quality the whole family will love. The sweetness of the sun-dried tomatoes contrast well against the salty olives and feta. It's a healthy, fast, kitchen-sink crowd-pleaser.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
40 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
40 min
Ingredients
  1. 2+ tablespoons olive oil
  2. 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
  3. 1 teaspoon oregano
  4. 1 cup fresh basil
  5. 1 onion, diced
  6. 6-7 cloves garlic, chopped
  7. 6 cups mixed vegetables, diced: mushrooms, eggplant, red pepper, broccoli, spinach and/or greens
  8. 5-6 ripe tomatoes (or a can of diced if you don't have fresh ones)
  9. 8-10oz feta cheese
  10. 1/2-1 cup sun dried tomatoes
  11. 4oz kalamata olives
  12. 4-5 oz drained artichoke hearts (optional)
  13. 1 pack of wholewheat pasta, cooked al dente (I prefer spaghettini or linguine, but they all work)
  14. Salt to taste
  15. Optional toppings: red chili flakes, sunflower seeds and/or hemp seeds
Instructions
  1. 1. Do all the prep work ahead of time because, aside from eggplant, the veggies cook fast.
  2. 2. Coat the bottom of your pan in oil and bring it to temperature over medium heat. Add your fennel and oregano and sautee until fragrant, 1 minute.
  3. 3. Add in your onions and garlic, sautee until the garlic becomes fragrant. Then add in the eggplant and cook until it becomes tender (not soggy), about 6-7 minutes.
  4. 4. Add in your mushrooms, pepper, broccoli and tomatoes. Cook for a few minutes until the tomatoes begin to break down. Add in your greens and cover the pan for two minutes to wilt.
  5. 5. Meanwhile, drain your pasta. Toss the cooked pasta with the vegetables, crumble in the feta cheese and add the fresh basil, sundried tomatoes, kalamata olives and the artichoke hearts (if you got them).
  6. Season to taste.
  7. Serve with red chili flakes and a generous sprinkling of hemp and sunflower seeds.
Adapted from Angela Polito
Adapted from Angela Polito
Nomadly In Love http://nomadlyinlove.com/

 

 

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Comments

  1. I’m going to remember your advice when I’m stiffening up in front of the camera or slipping into my ‘yoga speak’; I’ll just remind myself what it felt like when I was in the kitchen with you.

    You are ALWAYS welcome in my kitchen with me. I hope to do this again sometime. Next time I’ll share a recipe with you. I love you mucho. Happy cooking.

    PS: I’m so proud of the beautiful woman that you are, have been and always will be.

    • Yes, I’d love to make it a tradition! I have little to no insight into Asian cooking, and I love the food! Next time can you teach me a yummy Thai or Vietnamese recipe? Mmmmmmm.

      P.S Igualmente amiga mia. xo.

  2. I LOVED it.

  3. In case all y’all wanted to see a photo of the actual food 😉

  4. Serves 4-6 😉

  5. are you two together?? i want to see you if so!!!

  6. Looks good.

  7. wow I’ll be inhaling that thing

  8. Fun!

  9. Wow that looks delicious

  10. You two are amazing!! I wish I were there in the kitchen with you. Love love you both!!
    xoxo

  11. muy contenta

  12. U haven’t changed one bit Stevie, 20+ yrs later and u lovely as ever. Such fun to watch, made me miss u big time. Thanks for the yummy recipe! Love u!!

    • Thank you sweetie! I’d love for our paths to cross, especially with little ones in tow. Fun fun fun! I don’t know if you’re going south for the holidays, but we’ll be in Hermosa end of Dec. to Jan.6th. <3

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