Penne Pasta Recipes

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Beet Marinara Pasta Sauce with Mozzarella Recipe

March has definitely been beet season in my house. I made salads, beet risotto, drinks, and more recently, beet pasta sauce. Beets have a gorgeous, rich color; I experimented more by mixing marinara sauce with beets for a simple pasta dish. The acidity from the tomato sauce cuts the sweetness of the beets.

Tomatoes are not in season, so I cheated and used a store-bought jar of tomato sauce. I finished the dish with pieces of mozzarella for extra creaminess.


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Vegetable Pasta with Zucchini Sauce Recipe

Zucchini pasta is my way of using all the zucchini we bought at the farmers' market last weekend. I cooked the vegetable two ways and combined them in this flavorful pasta dish.

First, one part of the zucchini is boiled in a large amount of water until soft and tender, then cooked the same way as I would baigan bharta (Indian-style eggplant spread) but instead of only adding liquid smoke and plain yogurt, I also mixed in a little cream cheese. The second step is to sauté the rest of the zucchini with other vegetables. I also used diced carrots, green beans and sun-dried tomatoes.

Once all the ingredients are cooked, I combine everything and the result is a scrumptious meal. The smoky aroma from the zucchini sauce is very delicate and the added vegetables balance well with the softness of the pasta. 

Zucchini Recipe with Picture


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Baked Spinach Penne Pasta (Gratin de Pates Aux Epinards) Recipe

For me, baked pasta is the ultimate comfort food. What could be better than pasta and spinach mixed with creamy béchamel sauce and smothered in melted cheese? This dish is very similar to a spinach lasagna, but without the extra work of layering everything.

I've found that it's one of the easiest ways to get the girls to eat their vegetables. Each serving is packed with spinach, but who can tell, what with all the cream and cheese? I didn't say it's the healthiest way to get kids to eat their vegetables, just the easiest...


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Parsley-Walnut Pesto Penne Pasta with Asparagus Recipe

I had some leftover curly parsley from my stuffed tomatoes, and some walnuts leftover from my kiwi tarts, and I needed to figure out what to do with them. Pesto seemed like the perfect way to utilize the ingredients I had on hand. The parsley provided the green color and "herby" flavor typically delivered by the more commonly used basil.  I used the walnuts in place of pine nuts, and blended them with the parsley along with some olive oil. I added some walnut oil as well to accentuate the flavor of the whole walnuts and tossed the mixture with sautéed leeks and asparagus and mini penne pasta.

Finding ways to use not only your leftovers, but your leftover ingredients, will save you time and money. You just need to have a few flexible, go-to recipes in your culinary arsenal, and you'll be prepared to face whatever your refrigerator and pantry throw at you. Pesto is definitely one of those recipes.


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