Chop Salads are unique and just plain good. So maybe ‘chop style’ pasta should be good too, right? A typical chop salad consists of the usual salad ingredients and dressing. The unique part is all the ingredients are set on a cutting board and are chopped up with two large chef knives. Then all the goodies are put back in a bowl and you get to eat them. The chopping allows the flavors to blend from all the now-small pieces. It is different. It is so good. So why not do this with pasta too? Well I tried this today and loved it. The vegetable pieces are small and cling to the creamy-dressed pasta, unlike large, chunky vegetable pieces. So try this out. You can use what ever vegetables you have or like. I am thinking since all the veggies are chopped, you might actually get a few more vegetables via this recipe into your fussy eater than usual!
8 of fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 medium onion, sliced thinly
2 large cloves of garlic
1/3 cup fresh or frozen green peas
1 large carrot, cut into long, thin, slivers
½ cup coarsely chopped celery
½ cup cauliflower and/or broccoli florets
1 half large bell pepper, thinly sliced
¼ cup raw almonds or walnuts coarsely chopped
4 tablespoons olive oil, separated
2 tablespoons butter
2 ounces cream cheese
1-teaspoon ground thyme
1-teaspoon black pepper
½ cup chicken or vegetable stock
In large sauté pan heat 2 tablespoons olive oil and 2 tablespoons butter on medium-high heat. Add sliced mushrooms and cook until browned and soft. About 7 minutes. Remove mushrooms to plate. In same pan add 2 tablespoons canola oil. Add garlic and onions and cook three minutes. Add additional vegetables and cook until vegetables begin to brown. Stir frequently. Reduce heat to medium. Return mushrooms to pan. Add seasonings. Using a kitchen shears roughly cut all the vegetables to small pieces. Break the cream cheese into small chunks and add to pan. Add stock. Beat egg in small bowl and add to pan, stirring 1 minute. Place a tight lid on pan and remove pan from heat.
Drain pasta. Toss nuts into vegetable mixture. Add cooked pasta to pan with vegetables and stir with large tongs.
Divide into 4 portions. Drizzle olive oil on each serving and enjoy!