Pasta Recipes

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Pasta Shells Stuffed with Porcini Mushroom Walnut Pesto Recipe

This is a vegetarian pasta dish that even a meat lover won't be able to resist. The porcini mushrooms add a rich, meaty flavor to the pesto, and the walnuts provide a crunchy kick. You could serve the pesto with any pasta, but I like the pasta shells because of their presentation value.

As an added bonus, the pesto is not only really easy to make, but will keep very well in the freezer. Make some extra and you'll be able to whip up a quick meal when you're in a hurry.


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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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Cashew Pesto Radiatore Pasta Salad Recipe

Radiatore pasta look very similar to rotini shaped pasta but they're shorter, with a ruffled edge. Whenever I cook this particular shape of pasta, I know the dish will be devoured. There is just something about the shape of this pasta that kids love. And grown-ups who are like kids, like my Lulu, love it as well. 

We planned a last-minute picnic and I needed to come up with a quick and tasty dish that everyone could enjoy. Pasta salad is always a crowd pleaser and with the help of my sisters-in-law, I threw together the radiatore pasta with a cilantro lime cashew pesto sauce, with some roasted walnuts added for texture. To this, I incorporated vegetables, specifically broccoli, bell peppers, zucchini and sun-dried tomatoes. I had bought really cute perlini mozzarella balls and I added them to the dish, because who can say no to cheese?

For the non-vegetarians, there was some smoked salmon. I like smoked salmon in pasta salad because it works so well cold and is tastier than canned tuna or boiled chicken.


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Tri-Color Fusilli Pasta with Mascarpone Tomato Sauce Recipe

I just discovered over the weekend the new KitchenAid fusilli pasta maker attachment at Williams Sonoma in the Valley Fair Mall, in San Jose, CA. It looks amazing; I had no clue that fusilli could be made at home. Well, I didn't buy the attachment, but it gave me the idea of making the corkscrew-shaped pasta dish. I used store-bought tri-color fusilli. I find the color to be very playful. The red color is made from beet juice and the green one from spinach juice instead of using regular water in the dough.

Pasta to me is a natural comfort food. To give this dish a heartier feel, I paired the pasta with a creamy mascarpone homemade tomato sauce. The tomatoes are Brandywines from our garden. They are big, bright red and -most important- so sweet. The girls helped me make the sauce; I think it's always more satisfying for them to eat food they helped prepare.


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Saffron Orzo with Fennel and Vegetarian Chorizo Recipe

Orzo has a similar shape to rice, but it's actually pasta . I've found that kids love orzo; it's more tender and more pleasing to the palate of little ones.

We were running out of long grain rice in the house, so I decided to use orzo pasta as a substitute for rice in my Spanish rice dish. To bring another layer of flavor, I added some fennel that I cook in apple juice. Enjoy!


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