Pasta with Roasted Pepper Pesto

This was so good! The combination of smoky roasted red peppers and sweet sun-dried tomatoes, with just the teeniest hint of spice from the cayenne, worked so well together. We all loved it, and the kids want to have the leftovers for lunch tomorrow 🙂

The only change I made was to use regular pasta because I did not have multigrain.

Multigrain Pasta with Roasted Pepper Pesto
Kosher by Design Lightens Up, Susie Fishbein

1 small head roasted garlic (see note at bottom)
3 red bell peppers
6 sun-dried tomato halves
2 teaspoons pine nuts
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 (14.5-ounce box multigrain rotini pasta (such as Barilla Plus)

Preheat broiler.

Cut peppers in half and discard the seeds. Place on a jelly-roll pan, skin-side-up, and broil until skin is blackened. Place in a sealed zip-top bag. When cool enough to handle, remove from bag and slip the skins off.

Place the prepared peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, pine nuts, olive oil, vinegar, water, basil, garlic powder, salt, cayenne pepper, and the roasted garlic cloves into the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Pulse to form a thick sauce.

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and immediately transfer to a serving bowl. Top with the pesto and toss to combine. Serve hot or at room temperature.

6 servings
*To roast garlic: Slice off top 3/4 inch of a head of garlic to expose the cloves. Spray with cooking spray, or drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Wrap in foil and bake at 350F until golden, fragrant and soft, about 45-60 minutes.

Bow Ties with Tomatoes, Feta, and Balsamic Dressing

This recipe caught my eye when I got the latest issue of Cooking Light, but I was not sure if I wanted to try it or not until I saw Ashley’s review on her blog Big Flavors From a Tiny Kitchen ( I am so glad I made it, because it was really good – the flavors went together wonderfully, and the grapes made it refreshing on a warm day. I will definitely be making this one again!

Bow Ties with Tomatoes, Feta, and Balsamic Dressing
Cooking Light

6 ounces uncooked farfalle (bow tie pasta)
2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
1 cup seedless green grapes, halved
1/3 cup thinly sliced fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped shallots
2 teaspoons capers
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon bottled minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 (4-ounce) package crumbled reduced-fat feta cheese

1. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain. Combine cooked pasta, tomatoes, grapes, and basil in a large bowl.
2. While pasta cooks, combine vinegar and next 6 ingredients (through pepper) in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Gradually add oil to vinegar mixture, stirring constantly with a whisk. Drizzle vinaigrette over pasta mixture; toss well to coat. Add cheese; toss to combine.
4 servings

Pasta with Pomodoro Sauce

Dinner really doesn’t get much easier than this!

Pasta with Pomodoro Sauce
Cooking light

2 tablespoons olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes, undrained and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup finely sliced fresh basil
8 cups hot cooked penne (about 1 pound uncooked)

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add garlic; cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly (do not brown). Stir in pepper, salt, and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 7 minutes or until slightly thick, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; stir in basil. Serve over pasta.

6 servings

Spaghetti with Meat Sauce

I don’t usually follow a recipe when I make meat sauce, but I thought I’d give this one a try. I’m glad I did, because I really liked it. And it’s a great recipe to throw together when you’re short on time.

Spaghetti with Meat Sauce
Cooking Light

12 ounces uncooked spaghetti
3/4 pound ground sirloin
1 cup chopped onion
1 1/2 teaspoons bottled minced garlic
3/4 cup dry red wine
1 (26-ounce) bottle low-fat spaghetti sauce
2/3 cup 2% reduced-fat milk (I used soy milk)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat.
While pasta cooks, heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the beef; cook until browned, stirring to crumble. Drain beef, and set aside.
Add onion and garlic to pan; sauté 3 minutes. Add wine; cook 3 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates.
Stir in beef and spaghetti sauce; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the milk, salt, and pepper; cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve sauce over pasta.

6 servings

Penne Pasta with Roasted Fennel, Cherry Tomatoes, and Black Olives

This pasta was really good with lots of flavor, and I was able to use up a little bit of the huge rosemary plant in my backyard (I also grow oregano, so this dish was perfect!).


Penne Pasta with Roasted Fennel, Cherry Tomatoes, and Black Olives
Cooking Light
1/2 pound fennel bulb
1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted and halved
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon extravirgin olive oil
8 ounces uncooked penne (about 2 cups)
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (3 ounces) freshly grated pecorino Romano cheese (I used Parmesan)
Preheat oven to 450°.
Cut fennel bulb in half lengthwise; discard core. Chop the fennel into bite-sized pieces. Combine fennel, olives, rosemary, oregano, and tomatoes in a 13 x 9-inch baking dish. Sprinkle fennel mixture with pepper; drizzle with olive oil. Toss well to coat. Bake fennel mixture at 450° for 30 minutes or until fennel is tender, stirring once.
Prepare pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain; place in a large bowl. Add fennel mixture and salt, and stir to combine. Add cheese; toss to combine.
4 servings