#ZeroWasteWeek Day 2: Laundry bags aren’t just for your delicates and a Recipe for Broccoli & Pinenut Pasta Bake

I’m terrible for being caught unprepared when grocery shopping, but I managed to set out with empty tubs for dry ingredients and some trusty old net laundry bags for my fruit and veg. I’m pretty sure there are products out there specifically designed for this, but that would involve a trip into town. Who has time for that?? I even wrote out an actual grocery list rather than my usual “I’m sure I’ll remember” promises to myself. One time I did this and came home with two cherry pies and no asparagus. Oops.

I don’t have a compost bin, but a friend of mine does. She agreed to take my food waste for composting, and as she’s vegetarian and I’m vegan there shouldn’t be too much that can’t go in there from our food waste. It was a bit of an odd conversation to have with someone though, as how exactly do you bring up the topic of giving someone your food scraps for a week?

I also don’t own a car and have no need for one in the city, but I do take taxis. I thought this week would be a good time to cut down on these journeys, so I’ll be mostly walking everywhere. This was nearly derailed when I realised I was LATE. Like, really late. I had to run to a meeting, and let me just say I was sorely tempted just to phone for a cab but I DIDN’T! High fives all round?

Monday night a friend came over. We drank some of the homemade raspberry gin we’d made last year and that stuff is strong. By around midnight I was starving, a bit drunk, and I *responsibly* decided to make the mushroom risotto that was on the Meal Planner for my dinner. Yes, at MIDNIGHT. I’m pretty sure it was delicious, but drunk cooking for me usually just involves throwing things towards a pot and hoping for the best so there’s no recipe to post for this. *Sadface*

For lunch today I decided to do my own version of that lovely pasta with broccoli sauce that I ate my first day in London, but at the last minute I found a packet of pine nuts in the cupboard I’d forgotten about and thought “ooh, broccoli pesto!”. You can definitely add to this, and a few cloves of roasted garlic thrown in would probably be pretty damned tasty.

Creamy Broccoli and Pinenut Pasta Bake

  • 100 g pasta
  • 1 cup or so broccoli florets
  • 2 tbsp pine nuts
  • 1 heaping tbsp dairy free cream cheese
  • 3 tbsp breadcrumbs

Life’s too short to weigh broccoli. In today’s edition of “Ridiculously Simple Recipes”, I used some fancy pasta shapes I found in the back of my cupboard, but I basically did it to look posh. This is just as good with any pasta you’d normally use for a pasta bake, or that you find languishing in the back of a pantry somewhere.

Preheat oven to 200*C. Cook the pasta in salted boiling water. In another pot, cook the broccoli in salted boiling water as well, about 3-5 minutes until *just* cooked. Drain but reserve the water. Toast the pine nuts in a pan with a little oil but WATCH THEM LIKE A HAWK. These babies take less than a minute, and they burn easily so be careful.

Blitz up the broccoli, non dairy cream cheese and pine nuts up in a food processor. I used my smoothie maker because it was already on the counter, and I like things that are handy. If the mixture is a little too dry, add a bit of the reserved water from cooking the broccoli. Do not overblend.

Drain the pasta and stir in the sauce, but remember you don’t need to heat it through as this will be going in the oven. That ought to shave a whole 30 seconds off your cooking time, so give the dog or cat a quick cuddle. Wash your hands. Transfer into an ovenproof dish, sprinkle with breadcrumbs, and bake for 10-12 minutes until the topping is golden. Shovel into mouth. Marvel at how easy it is to make food. Wonder why you never bothered to make a crunchy topping for a pasta bake before.

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