March 31st 2012

3 easy pasta dishes loaded with flavor

One of the quickest go-to meals is a plateful of pasta, but simple preparation doesn’t have to equal simple (or boring) in taste).

If you’ve had a late day at work and the last thing you want to do is cook, take a few extra moments than just heating up a jar of sauce in your pantry.

These three pasta dishes are incredibly easy to make, loaded with good-for-you ingredients, and more interesting than a bit of sauce and a sprinkle of cheese.

Rotini with Walnuts, Peas, and Cauliflower

8 ounces whole grain rotini noodles
1 pound cauliflower, cut into florets
1 carrot, peeled and thinly sliced
1 cup frozen peas
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh parsley
1 clove garlic, minced
Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan
1/4 cup walnut pieces, toasted

Prepare the pasta as per the package’s directions. When there are 5 minutes left, add the cauliflower and carrots to the water. Stir in the peas in the last minute. Ladle out 1/3 of the cooking liquid then drain completely. Return the mixture to the pot. Stir in the oil, parsley, garlic, salt, and pepper. Add a bit of the cooking liquid, just so it is a little creamy. Sprinkle with walnuts and cheese. Serve warm.

Fettucine Bolognese

8 ounces whole grain fettucine
8 ounces extra-lean ground beef or bison
1 medium onion, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 medium zucchini, chopped
1 (14.5oz) can  diced tomatoes with chilies
1/2 cup tomato paste
1/4 cup water
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Prepare the pasta as per the package’s directions. Drain well.

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the beef and cook, breaking it into smaller pieces, until browned, about 4 minutes. Add the onion, carrot, garlic, and oregano. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables start to soften, about 2 minutes. Add the zucchini and cook for 2 minutes longer. Stir in the tomatoes, tomato paste, and water. bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium. Simmer until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper. Toss with pasta. Serve warm.


The Best Pasta Primavera

3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into thin strips
2 medium zucchini, cut into thin strips
2 medium yellow squash, cut into thin strips
2 red onions, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
1 orange bell pepper, cut into thin strips
1 yellow bell pepper, cut into thin strips
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
1 1/4 tablespoons Italian seasoning
1 pound penne pasta
20 cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half
About 2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Put all of the vegetables on a large baking sheet. Toss with toss the olive oil, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning until well-coated. Transfer half of the vegetable mixture to another large baking sheet. Arrange the vegetables evening over top of the baking sheets. Bake for about 20 minutes, stirring halfway, until vegetables start to brown and are tender.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water according to package directions, but only until al dente, tender but still firm, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid.

Put the cooked pasta and the vegetable mixture in a large bowl. Toss well to combine. Add in the cherry tomatoes and just enough of the reserved pasta water to moisten. Add salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with the parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.


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Andrew's Biography

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Andrew loves art and design, and pursues his studies in his final year at the Ontario College of Art and Design. He loves seeking out new artists and giving them their dues, and in his spare time, focuses on his own abstract sculpture.