Pasta Primavera with Pesto



Is there any dish that says spring more than Pasta Primavera?

I mean, it screams Spring!

Fresh vegetables tossed in pasta, lightly seasoned, after months of heavy starchy foods. Vibrant greens burst in the bowl…

Plus, you know, primavera means spring in Italian.

For primavera, you can use whatever fresh, springy vegetables you wish, which is one of the beauties of this dish. Tailor it to your tastes and to what looks the best when you go to the farmer’s market.

The basil smelled utterly delicious, so I decided to make a pesto to top my pasta, sauteed asparagus and mushroom concoction.

Pesto is super simple to make. See my recipe here, use your favorite recipe, or use store bought.

I’m going to make this dish in one pot, so bonus points for less dishes to do.

Start with a frying pan with high sides- mine’s about 4-5 inches high.

Drizzle some olive oil and add sliced mushrooms and asparagus spears that have been cut into one inch chunks.


Cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes, until mushrooms are browned and asparagus is softened. Season with salt and pepper.




Dump the mixture into a bowl, and place off to the side for a bit. Fill that same pan with water, about 2 inches high and bring to boil. The water will pick up the bits of asparagus and mushrooms and infuse the pasta with the flavors.

When the water is boiling, dump in your pasta. Use whatever shape you like, as long as it is one of the shapes with lots of nooks and crannies for pesto to fall in. Farfalle are great, penne rigate (that means with ridges, not the smooth ones). I used Campanelle, which means little bells (which is what the pasta looks like).




When the pasta is cooked, drain and then pour back in the pot. Add the pesto and mix well.




Add the asparagus and mushrooms and mix again.





Serve up in bowls and top with parmesan.






This makes great leftovers and can be eaten warm or cold. Would love to find this in my lunchbox or picnic basket!

Eggplant Parm. Baked Ziti

So there’s a dish called Penne Al Forno, which is a baked penne dish with eggplant in it.

But let’s be real. This pile of cheesy, eggplanty, pasta-goodness can masquerade behind a fancy name all it wants. We know the truth. It’s really just an epic mashup of two of our favorites: eggplant parm and baked ziti.

And it is a glorious way to end a rainy, dreary Monday.

For this recipe you will need:

  • 1 eggplant, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 1/2 box of pasta (penne’s great but I had elbows on hand. Use what you have!)
  • 15 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • mozzarella
  • parmesan
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper

Preheat the oven to 350.

For this dinner, I used an ovenproof deep skillet so I could cut this down to a 2 pot night. But if you don’t have something that works, you can transfer from a skillet to a baking dish.

No problem.




Drizzle some olive oil in a pot and toss in your eggplant chunks. Season with salt and lots of black pepper.


When the eggplant is browned, add your garlic and the can of diced tomatoes and let the mix simmer away.


Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to a boil and cook your pasta.


Add your drained pasta to the pot of eggplant and tomatoes (or transfer to a baking dish)


Toss in some chunks of mozzarella and then give a big stir.


Top with more mozzarella and a sprinkling of parmesan cheese.


Bake for about 25-30 minutes, until the cheese gets all melty.


Serve up heaping platefuls and enjoy two Italian classics in one.



Roasted Red Pepper Sauce




Between Thanksgiving, and rebuilding my site and trying to remember how to be a good student and write final papers, I’ve been far from the kitchen lately.

But I’m back.

And ready to start whipping up delicious meals for me and the fiance AND I have all my cookie tins ready for Christmas-bake-a-thon.

But first, let’s start off with an easy and delicious sauce for some pasta. This fabulous recipe comes to you from the Pioneer Woman. I was stumped what to make, and this was on her show. I love pasta, but I was getting a little bored with my usual gravy, pesto or alfredo repertoire. This spices things up a bit.

For this sauce you will need:

  • 1 jar of roasted red peppers, drained
  • 1/2 a white onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • olive oil
  • heavy cream

Start by drizzling olive oil in a skillet and tossing in the onions and garlic.


When the onions are translucent, add in the roasted red peppers.


Let this mixture cook for about 10 minutes or so, stirring so you don’t burn the garlic.

When the onions are soft and the peppers are warm, transfer the mixture to a blender. Add a couple of tablespoons of heavy cream.


Give the sauce a buzz until it is creamy and smooth.


You can pop this in the fridge for dinner the next night, or you can boil up some pasta, drain the pasta, put the pasta back in the pot and douse it in the sauce, as I did below.


Top with parmesan cheese and you have a delicious new way to enjoy your pasta!


Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce

If you ask my dad, he’ll tell you that pasta should come one way – topped with gravy and a meatball.

He doesn’t go for vegetables or shrimp or cream sauces. Gravy. End of story.

Thankfully, my fiance is less picky than my dad.

This is one of our favorite gravy alternatives for pasta.

Roasted butternut squash pureed into a rich and creamy pasta topper.

You will need a medium squash, two cloves of garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. You can also add some heavy cream for some richness and creaminess.

Preheat the oven to 400.

Cut the squash in half lengthwise.


Using a spoon, scoop out the seeds.


Drizzle olive oil over the cut side and sprinkle with salt and pepper.


Place the squash, cut side down, on a foil-lined baking sheet.


Roast the squash until it is tender, about thirty minutes or so. Flip the squash over and roast for an additional ten minutes, cut side up.


Really important. Let the squash cool completely! This is not the time to be a hero. It’s hot. Really hot.

When it is completely cooled, scoop out the insides and drop the squash chunks into a large pot.

Add a little olive oil and two cloves of garlic, chopped.


Cook over medium for a few minutes to cook the garlic a bit. The add enough water to the pot to cover the bottom.


Cover and let the steam soften the squash some more.


Using a potato masher if you want a workout or an immersion blender if you’re less of a masochist, blend the sauce until it is smooth. You can also dump the mixture into a blender or food processor.


Toss your favorite pasta in the sauce. I used penne.

You get a rich creamy sauce coating the pasta with notes of sweetness and spice from the garlic and pepper.

It’s still summer, but this dish is fall in a bowl.