Saturday, February 22, 2014

Post 250 and the Wonderpot

In July 2009 when I started this blog at the encouragement of friends who wanted my recipes, I didn't realize I would still be making weekly posts 250 weeks later. Today's entry for the vegetarian Wonderpot amazes even me. Not only because it is a very inexpensive and easy to make recipe, but also because I still have a number of recipes to make and share with you. Who knows where the end will be? Who knew I made so many different things? I do repeat favorite dishes pretty regularly at home, but every recipe on the blog is unique. So what are the top posts? In order they are shown below.

Julian's Top 5 Most Popular Posts to Date
Julia Child and the Two Fat Ladies are still going strong. A lot people want to know more about Osso Bucco and Sugar Snap Peas, which I would not have guessed. I would have said I might have run out of recipe ideas by now. But I'm glad that about 100 people a day read the blog and send me comments and requests. I'll keep posting so long as you keep reading. For now, let's get to the Wonderpot!

Julian's Italian Wonderpot
So this dish is a called a "Wonderpot" because it is both very inexpensive to make (about $6-$8 per recipe, which serves 6 adults) and very easy to prepare. It all goes in the one pot mostly at the same time save for the final garnish. It's great for college kids cooking their first meals as well as for those of us who indulged a bit too much during the holidays and want to lighten their dinner by eliminating meat and fats. (We've been trying to do the 'meatless Monday' thing for the past year.) It's also a simple, quick and satisfying dinner on work nights.

There are many versions online mostly varying in the ingredient list, with similar preparation techniques. I've tried several and prefer this one from Budget Bytes, although I too made a few variations from the original. Mostly I tried to amp up the flavor and use the entire box of pasta. If you haven't ever tried a Wonderpot, give it a go. I'm sure you will enjoy it!

Ingredients (serves 6 adults)

4 cups vegetable broth (32 ounces)
1 cup water or more broth if available
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 pound (16 ounce box) fettuccine
3/4 cup black olives, thickly sliced
2 14.5 ounce cans diced tomatoes, un-drained
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 Tablespoon dried basil
1 Tablespoon dried oregano
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
freshly ground pepper to taste
pinch of salt
10 oz. package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed to remove moisture.
Sprinkle grated Parmesan cheese

Add the  vegetable broth and water to a large pot. Break the fettuccine in half and then add it to the pot. Also add the canned tomatoes, olive oil, onion, garlic, basil, oregano, red pepper, and black pepper. Make sure the ingredients are submerged under the liquid, place a lid on top of the pot, and then turn the heat to high. Allow the pot to come up to a rolling boil over high heat then remove the lid and turn the heat down to medium.

Pasta is under the other ingredients initially.
Allow the pot to continue to boil over medium heat, without a lid, for 10-15 minutes, or until the pasta is cooked and most of the liquid has been absorbed. Stir the pot every few minutes scraping along the bottom to prevent the pasta from sticking.  Avoid over stirring which can cause the pasta to become mushy. Ensure the pot remains at a low boil while cooking.

After the pasta is tender, add the spinach and olives. Heat through (1-2 minutes) and serve with grated Parmesan.

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