I’m not sure which I prefer more: organizing and stowing food supplies after a major provisioning run, or trying to make a fabulous dinner from meager supplies the night before a restock. Either way, the only thing better than eating dinner on the boat, surrounded by stunning water views, is cooking a tasty meal on board. Summer dinners are always better on our Hunter 31, Katie 3, when we’re cruising Canadian waters from Burlington Bay to Rockport, Ontario. One evening when provisions were low, the dinner dance began. I searched every storage locker as well as the bowels of the icebox to see what Katie 3 would surrender for one last pre-provisioning meal. I placed the seemingly incompatible ingredients on the counter and contemplated the best course of action. In the end, grilled vegetables and pasta seemed the most palatable possibility. Who knew this quick and easy dish would become one of our regular favorites?
Colorful Peppery Pasta
- Olive oil
- 8 ounces dried penne pasta
- 1 medium red pepper
- 1 2-inch jalapeño pepper or 1 small, mild green banana pepper
- 1 small red onion
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 14-ounce can artichoke hearts, drained
- Handful fresh baby spinach
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- A few dashes hot sauce (optional)
- Parmesan cheese, grated (optional)
Fill a large pot with water for pasta, and heat. Meanwhile, slice the red pepper into 1/4-inch strips. Slice jalapeño or banana pepper and onion into rings. Peel and smash garlic, and cut cloves into 4 pieces. Lightly oil a grill pan or large, nonstick sauté pan, and turn heat to medium-high. When pan is hot, place the red pepper strips, jalapeño/banana peppers, and onions on first. Allow to cook and char slightly, for about 3 minutes. Add the garlic, and sauté. Put pasta in boiling water to cook. Move peppers, onion and garlic to the side of the pan, and place artichokes in the center. Cook, turning 2 or 3 times, until lightly browned.
Drain pasta. Immediately add the uncooked spinach, stir to wilt, and then salt and pepper to taste. Swirl with olive oil, to taste, and toss. Add hot sauce, if using. Add pasta to grill/sauté pan, and toss with grilled vegetables to combine. You can serve this right from the pan. Plate and then top with grated cheese, if you have any left.
If your galley gives up a leftover cooked protein, you can add sliced beef, pork or chicken to the mix. Just add to pan for long enough to reheat the meat.