Thursday, June 3, 2010

Meatless Mondays & Easy Pasta Primavera

Have you heard about the Meatless Monday movement?

In partnership with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, this non-profit initiative aims "to reduce meat consumption 15 percent in order to improve personal health and the health of our planet."

I'm not going to say that going forward we will never eat meat on a Monday, but I will say that in general we are reducing the amount of meat we eat in favor of more legumes, whole-grains, and vegetables.

My mom's good friend Susan passed on this recipe who in turn picked it up from the Italian food wonder, Giada De Laurentiis.  It's really what spring is all about:  light, healthy food that comes together in a snap. Plus, it's perfect for Meatless Mondays.

What I love about it is that you can play with the ingredients in a number of ways.  After seeing asparagus all over the local grocery stores the past few weeks, I couldn't find any the day I wanted to prepare the dish.  Instead, I used a lovely zucchini and cut it into spears.  Also, even though it was sitting right on the counter starting me in the face, I forgot the basil.

Please make this dish.  You won't be sorry.  It's light, easy, and really delicious.

Penne with Asparagus and Cherry Tomatoes


8oz. penne pasta
3T olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1.5 lbs. thin asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1" pieces
salt and pepper
2c (9oz.) cherry tomatoes
1c shelled fresh peas (I used frozen and they tasted just fine)
1/2c low-sodium chicken stock
1c grated Parmesan cheese
2T chopped, fresh basil leaves


1.  Cook pasta 8-10 minutes, drain, reserving 1/2 pasta water.

2.  In a large saute pan, heat the oil.  Add the garlic and cook 1 minute until fragrant. Add the asparagus, season with salt and pepper, and cook about three minutes until slightly soft.  Add the tomatoes and peas.Cook for two minutes.  Add the chicken stock to the pan and bring the mixture to a simmer.

3.  Cook 2-3 minutes until the cherry tomatoes begin to burst and the stock is reduced by half.

4.  Transfer the veggie mix to a large serving bowl.  Add the pasta and half of the Parmesan.  Toss well, adding reserved pasta water if needed, to loosen the pasta.  Garnish with remaining Parmesan and chopped basil.

Serves 4-6

No comments:

Post a Comment