Here's a time-saving secret you'll love: You don't need to precook pasta in a pot of boiling water. I learned this trick from Harold McGee -- the highest authority on the science of cooking -- and it saves energy, time and cleanup, and the added bonus is that you don't throw away that beautiful, precious starchy pasta water. Instead, it becomes part of your sauce.
Cooking the pasta with Ayala's Magic Spice makes for an instant sauce that's deeply flavored, complex and super nutritious. It will also reduce the amount of salt you'll need to fully flavor this dish.
You can add practically any pulse to the mix to make this a full meal. I used gigante beans that I had left over; other times I used lentils or black beans.
You'll need one large, wide pot.
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 carrot, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced thinly
- 3 tablespoons Ayala's Magic Spice
- 1 pound dried pasta (whole wheat if you wish)
- 4 cups boiling water (boil in a kettle)
- 3 cups tomato sauce or canned crushed tomatoes
- ½ teaspoon fine grain salt, or more to taste
- 1 cup cooked beans or lentils (you can use canned beans)
- ½ pound kale, de-stemmed and chopped
- Salt (if needed) and freshly ground pepper to taste
To serve (all optional): Basil, grated Parmesan (if not vegan), olives, toasted sunflower seeds or almonds
- In a large pot, on medium-high heat, sauté the onions in olive oil until soft and golden. Add the carrots, and then the garlic, and sauté another minute or two, careful not to burn the garlic.
- Add Ayala's Magic Spice, pasta, tomato sauce and salt, pour 4 cups of boiling water over the mixture, cover, and bring to a boil.
- Uncover, and simmer until the pasta is just al dente, stirring regularly -- look at the pasta package for a time estimate.
- Once the pasta is al dente, stir in the beans or lentils and the kale, allowing kale to collapse.
- Allow the pasta to finish cooking and all the flavors to be absorbed -- another minute or so. Correct flavor if needed.
- Serve garnished with your favorite topping.