Diala Canelo’s Cheap Thrill Is a Veggie-Packed Pasta That Practically Cooks Itself

Diala Canelo as Told to Tiffany Hopkins

Diala Canelo is a chef and author of Diala's Kitchen: Plant-Forward and Pescatarian Recipes Inspired by Home and Travel. We asked Canelo to tell us about her Cheap Thrill—the fast, affordable, and delicious meal she puts together when she’s too busy or tired to cook anything else. This flexible vegetable-packed pasta dish is her answer.

If I’m going for quick and easy, my answer is pasta. I start by looking at what vegetables are in my fridge. I’ll use cauliflower, red onions, whatever’s there. But even when I’m keeping things simple, I make sure to use good quality ingredients so everything tastes its best.

I chop the vegetables, and instead of sautéing them, I like to roast them. Roasting chars them and brings out more of their natural flavors. The sugars in the veggies caramelize, which makes them taste delicious—and even better if you drizzle some balsamic vinegar on top of them.

<h1 class="title">Penne with Almond Pesto + Green Beans</h1> <div class="caption"> This version includes green beans, pesto, and lots of Parm. Which way will you go? </div> <cite class="credit">Photo by Danny Kim, food and prop styling by Ali Nardi</cite>

Penne with Almond Pesto + Green Beans

This version includes green beans, pesto, and lots of Parm. Which way will you go?
Photo by Danny Kim, food and prop styling by Ali Nardi

Just remember to season everything—seasoning matters, even if it’s just salt and pepper! I always like to add a lot of minced garlic. My advice is to always use lots of garlic: when a recipe calls for two cloves of garlic, I use four.

I don’t think too hard about the sauce. Sometimes, I’ll use a combination of lemon, garlic, and za’atar. Other times, I’ll just use olive oil and garlic with feta or Parmesan cheese. I love using pesto, whether it’s homemade or store-bought. Pesto has so much flavor already, so it doesn’t need much else.

While the vegetables are in the oven, I boil a pot of pasta on the stove. I like to use short pasta, like rigatoni or penne, but any pasta will work. I time it so the veggies and the pasta finish around the same time. I like doing it this way, because it’s so low-maintenance and and basically hands-off. Everything comes together in about 25 minutes.

Originally Appeared on Epicurious

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