Friday, January 8, 2010

Recipe: Penne Primavera

So I've really been bare-bonesin' it lately, as I'm so backed up on bills & rent due to all the missed work from my evilly sick November/December that it's not even funny. The fact that, as a temp, I have zero vaction/sick/holiday pay makes things even worse, so I've been trying really hard to subsist on leftovers of recent PGEW recipes and a lot of milk. However, there's only so much of that that one can do without fainting, and since I've been doing Pilates workouts thrice daily, my body is demanding real food. I've been doing great as a light eater during the day; always have, probably always will do. But I don't know if it's the 1/4 Spaniard in me or what, I just need to eat a larger, more substantial meal at night, I just do! My favorite joke when I first lost all that MAJOR weight was that I would eat healthy during regular business hours (9-5, M-F) and eat whatever I wanted afterwards, and frankly, that really worked for me. One thing I've learned in all my weight loss travails is that you cannot deny yourself anything; that's just setting yourself up for failure because all you do is focus on that deprivation (I should know; you don't keep 70lbs off for over 5 years without some good tricks!). Since I know what I need to do to be at my tiny size 4 again and HOW to do it, I've adopted all my former tricks; and this is one of them.

Anyway, the other day I kinda overdid it and ate far too lightly during the day, which is not good if you're hypoglycemic. By the time I got home I was ready to faint and to eat my bookcase for carbs & fiber, but opted for a lovely pasta dish instead. Because I haven't been able to ambulate in the general direction of my favorite farmers market lately, I haven't had the chance to partake in fresher veggies, so the frozen ones have been my dear friends as of late. And they're not bad friends to have during the winter; there are more nutrients in frozen veggies than in canned, and they have a far better texture and flavor than their cannéd (yes, I am bringing back accented English) counterparts. I figured this would be a good way to have a nice pasta primavera in the dead of a dismal, gray, foggy-ass winter. And so I did.

Pasta Primavera is, in general, a no-brainer and this one is no different. Because we're all freezing in this particular country, I'm sure a lot of us are having a hard time finding quality fresh vegetables, so please do partake in any of the frozen options out there if you're looking for something more warm and sunny to look at and eat. I use a far bigger veggie-to-pasta ratio than most recipes do, and as opposed to a lot of the more recent primavera recipes in this world, it's not as rich & creamy-sauce laden, so it's actually a fairly decent option for those of us who are trying to eat more healthily. And really.... how can you go wrong with pasta & veggies for a good, economical meal, right? Enjoy, my friends. And if you're really in a pinch for the Parmesan cheese at the end, just follow the tips I've given you in the past and you'll enjoy just as hearty a meal as I have. :)

Penne Primavera (makes 4 servings; total cost per serving: ~ $1.75)

2 c cooked whole wheat or brown rice penne pasta
3/4 c broccoli florets
3/4 c cauliflower florets
1/2 c green peas
1 medium carrot, thinly sliced
8-10 medium white mushrooms, sliced
1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
2 Roma tomatoes, diced
2 T butter
1/3 c white wine
1 T nonfat/reduced fat milk
1/2 t salt
Plenty of freshly ground black pepper
1/2 t dried basil
1/2 t dried rosemary
1/4 t dried oregano
Grated parmesan cheese, for garnish

Melt the butter in a large skillet and add the garlic; cook until the garlic becomes fragrant. Add the carrots, broccoli and cauliflower florets and sauté until they become slightly tender. Add the mushrooms and peas, and sauté for about 1-2 minutes. Add the sliced onions, tomatoes, herbs, salt, pepper, milk and the wine and allow to cook over medium heat for another 2 minutes. Finally, add the cooked penne pasta and cook for 2-3 minutes more, or until everything is warmed through and well-combined.

Serve generous amounts on medium plates, garnish with the grated parmesan and more fresh ground pepper if desired, and enjoy!


  1. This looks great and you are so right about the dreary weather Sacramento is having lately. I still would like to meet you downtown one of these lunch hours and pick up a copy of the cookbook. Thanks!!

  2. Mmm...looks like another winner! I also like to put a lot of veggies in my pasta (and everything else) b/c it bulks up the serving size without adding many calories. I'm all about big portions. :) I too eat light during the day and like a substantial dinner. I know you're "supposed to" eat heaviest at breakfast, lighter at lunch and lightest at dinner but that is the exact opposite of what I like and enjoy. Anyway, it works for me!

  3. Sorry to hear about how tight it is lately - trust me, I understand that! This recipe brightened up my night - its so cold so seeing all those great veggies makes me THINK SPRING!

  4. Great post! Pasta Primavera is one of my favorite recipes. I love making it in late spring/early summer when the rainbow chard and fresh English peas first come out...but it's excellent year-round.

  5. This recipe looks wonderful!
    Do you ever cook with basmati rice? If so, how do you cook it? I just bought some but it didn't come with instructions and I'm pretty sure it's cooked differently than regular white rice. Thanks for any help you can provide!



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