Everyone loves pasta – it’s a big hit in my household – so treating it as your best friend and a vehicle for getting extra veg into meals is a really good way to approach things. This recipe is a really typical lunch or dinner for us – think of it as a principle, and flex the veg you use depending on what you’ve got in the fridge and the freezer. You want to use around 500g of veg in total, or more if you’ve got it!
6 spring onions
1 large handful of broccolini
2 cloves of garlic
100g frozen spinach
2 large handfuls of frozen peas
450g dried pasta
50g parmesan cheese, plus extra to serve
extra virgin olive oil
optional: fresh herbs, to serve
1. Trim and slice the spring onions. Trim the leek, halve it lengthways, wash it, then finely slice. Finely slice the broccoli stalks, reserving the tips.
2. Put a large, non-stick, shallow casserole pan on a medium heat.
3. Put 1 tablespoon of olive oil into the pan, with the spring onions, leeks and broccoli stalks. Peel and finely chop the garlic and add to the pan.
4. Add the frozen spinach and peas, then add a pinch of sea salt and black pepper.
5. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes, or until soft but not coloured and the spinach has defrosted, stirring regularly.
6. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pan of boiling salted water, according to the packet instructions, adding the broccoli florets for the last 2 minutes.
7. While everything is ticking away, finely grate the parmesan.
8. Scoop or pour out about 200ml of cooking water from the pasta into your veg pan. Now, you can either leave your sauce chunky, blitz it until smooth in a blender, or use a hand blender to go somewhere in between – it's up to you.
9. Drain the pasta and broccoli, and tip it into the sauce. Add 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and the grated parmesan, and toss it all together.
10. I like to finish this with a sprinkling of fresh herbs – parsley, basil, thyme, whatever you've got. A little extra grating of parmesan is always nice, and a big salad on the side.
Tips: You can easily turn this into a gratin. One you've tossed the pasta and sauce together, tip it into an ovenproof frying pan or dish, sprinkle over some stale breadcrumbs or grated cheese, and pop under a hot grill for a few minutes, until golden and bubbling.
• Finely chopped white or red onions would work in place of the spring onions and the leek.
• Use regular broccoli, by all means – finely chop the stalk and add it to the mix at the beginning, keeping the cute little florets until the end.
• You can add any green veg you have: kale, cabbage, broad beans, runner beans, green beans.
• If you don't have any parmesan, try a different cheese in its place, make it work for you.
Jamie: Keep Cooking and Carry On, Fridays 7:30pm only on 10.