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Pasta Lovers Delight

Are you stuck in a rut making the same old red sauce spaghetti or lasagna? Try shaking it up a bit with these great pasta recipes. – Pat

STRAWBERRY CHICKEN PASTA SALAD

1/2 cup sliced fresh strawberries

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1/2 teaspoon salt, divided

1/4 teaspoon pepper, divided

3 tablespoons olive oil

4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves

ASSEMBLY

1 package (10 oz.) heart of romaine salad mix

1 cup cooked Gemelli or spiral pasta

1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced

1 cup sliced fresh strawberries

1/2 cup glazed pecans

Place strawberries, sugar, vinegar, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper in a blender; cover and process until smooth. While processing, gradually add olive oil in a steady stream and refrigerate until serving. Moisten a paper towel with cooking oil. Using long-handled tongs, rub paper towel on grill rack to coat lightly. Sprinkle chicken with remaining salt and pepper. Place chicken on grill rack. Grill covered, over medium heat 6-8 minutes on each side or until a thermometer reads 165 degrees. Cut chicken into slices. Divide salad mix among four plates; top with pasta, onion, chicken and strawberries. Drizzle with vinaigrette and sprinkle with pecans.

SHRIMP TORTELLINI TOSS

1 package (9 oz.) refrigerated cheese tortellini

1 cup frozen peas

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 pound uncooked medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Cook tortellini according to package directions, adding peas during the last five minutes of cooking. Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet, heat 2 Tbs. olive oil over medium-high heat. Add shrimp; cook and stir two minutes. Add garlic and cook 1-2 minutes longer or until shrimp turns pink. Drain tortellini mixture and add to skillet. Stir in salt, thyme, pepper and remaining oil; toss to coat.

PESTO PASTA & POTATOES

1 1/2 pounds small red potatoes, halved

1 12-ounce package uncooked whole grain
spiral pasta

3 cups fresh or frozen green beans

1 jar (6 1/2 oz.) prepared pesto

1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Place potatoes in a large saucepan; add water to cover. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cook uncovered, 9-11 minutes or until tender. Drain and transfer to a large bowl. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions, adding green beans during last five minutes of cooking. Drain, reserving 3/4 cup pasta water. Add pasta and green beans to potatoes. Stir in pesto, cheese and enough reserved pasta water to coat.

PASTA WITH ROASTED GARLIC AND TOMATOES

1 1/2 pounds cherry tomatoes

12 garlic cloves, peeled

3 tablespoons olive oil

3 cups uncooked bow tie pasta

1/2 cup (4 oz.) cream cheese, softened

1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a bowl, toss tomatoes and garlic cloves with oil; transfer to a greased 15x10x1-inch baking pan. Roast 14-16 minutes or until very soft. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions. Cool tomato mixture slightly. Reserve 12 tomatoes for serving with pasta. Transfer remaining tomato mixture to a food processor. Add cream cheese and salt; process until smooth. Transfer to a large bowl. Drain pasta and add to tomato mixture and toss to coat. Top with reserved tomatoes.

QUICK TIPS

• Try shaking some ground cinnamon on fresh coffee grounds for a hint of flavor.

• Use an electric knife to slice quick breads. It cuts nice even thin slices.

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