Every morning I ask my husband, “What do you want for dinner?” (Yes, I’m thinking about dinner at 7am. It’s a problem.) His response is always the same, “Something healthy.” I usually give him a face that says, “Gee, thanks for the imput,” as I rack my brain for meal options. Luckily, I have 11 hours to come up with something.
Yesterday’s recipe post was all about time-saving and short cuts. If a product tastes good and can save me sometime (meaning I get to drink wine and watch TV sooner), I’ll buy it. However, there is one item in a grocery I’ll never buy. Store Bought Pasta Sauce. It never tastes good. I’ve tried different brands but there isn’t one that can trick my taste buds. Making my own pasta sauce is the only way to go.
When I get a craving for pasta, I just go with it. I always buy whole wheat pasta but the sauce creations are endless. Taking into consideration my hubby’s healthy request, I thought a marina sauce would be our best bet. But instead of just using some tomatoes, garlic and basil as a sauce — I wanted to kick it up a bit. I knew we had some sun-dried tomatoes and tomato paste in our pantry. 3 different tomato flavors in one sauce. This was gonna be good.
Just because I’m making my own pasta sauce doesn’t mean I’m going to spend a lot of time in my kitchen. This meal was ready in 20 minutes. Honestly, the pasta sauce was ready by the time the pot of water for the pasta started to boil.
So if you’re like me and not a fan of store-bought pasta sauce, give this recipe a try. I think you’ll love all of the rich tomato flavor and you’ll be impressed by how easy it comes together!
Triple Tomato Pasta Sauce with Whole Wheat Penne
- 1lb whole wheat penne
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, diced
- 1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes, drained and diced
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- Salt & Pepper
- Red Pepper Flakes
- 1 28 oz can whole tomatoes
- 6 basil leaves, torn
- Basil for garnish
- In a large pot of boiling water, cook penne until al dente. Save 1/2 cup of pasta water when draining cooked pasta. You may need it to thin out the sauce.
- In a sauce pan with olive oil, add onions and garlic. Stir and cook for 5 minutes. Add sun dried tomatoes and tomato paste. Continue stirring to incorporate paste. Add Salt & Pepper and a dash of red pepper flakes.
- In a blender, add canned tomatoes, basil and onion mixture. Blend until smooth. Wipe/wash clean the sauce pan if there is a lot of oil from the sun-dried tomatoes. You don’t want a oily sauce. Add sauce back to the pan and keep warm until pasta is cooked. (If you have a Vitamix, just keep the sauce in the blender. The blades will warm it, so you can skip this step.) If the sauce is too thick, add a some of the pasta water to thin it out.
- When the pasta is cooked and drained, add sauce and garnish with basil.
Inspired by Food & Wine
I’ve taken “Meatless Monday” to “Let’s eat meat free till the weekend.”
It’s summer time. Produce in the mid-west is at it’s very best…. so why not take advantage of it. Instead of making the typical tomato sauce for pasta, I decided to change it up a bit. I made a Roasted Red Pepper & Sun-Dried Tomato sauce for my whole wheat spaghetti. SO GOOD!!
If you have a picky eater or kids in your home, an easy way to sneak in veggies is to puree them into a sauce or soup. Besides roasted red peppers & sun-dried tomatoes, I added carrots, onions, basil and garlic to the blender to make a full flavor pasta sauce. Once it’s pureed, it will be a little thick. You can thin it out with stock or some of the water your pasta cooked in.
To add some “meat” to this pasta meal, I sautéed sliced mushrooms and tomatoes. Add it to the cooked pasta and throw in some spinach. The heat from the warm pasta and mushroom mixture will slighty wilt the spinach but it will still maintain some crunch.
Another great thing about this recipe, it’s on the table in 30 minutes. Very quick & easy with depths of flavor. It’s a tasty mid-week meal!
Roasted Red Pepper & sun-dried Tomato Sauce with Whole Wheat spaghetti, serves 4 to 6
- 1 lb (uncooked) Whole wheat spaghetti
- 1 medium onion, diced and divided
- 3 garlic cloves, minced and divided
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 1 12oz jar of roasted red peppers, drained
- 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes
- 5 -8 basil leaves
- splash of cream
- 2 cups sliced mushrooms
- 2 tomatoes, diced
- 2 cups baby spinach
- basil for garnish
- Cook spaghetti according to directions. Reminder — You might want to save some of the pasta water to thin out the sauce if you don’t have stock on hand.
- Saute half of the diced onions & garlic with olive oil. Add carrots and cook until onions are translucent. Add to blender along with roasted red peppers, sun-dried tomatoes & basil. Puree until smooth. Add water or stock until you get the consistency you like. Finish sauce by adding a splash of cream.
- In a saute pan, pour in a splash of olive oil and add the rest of the onions and garlic. Toss in sliced mushrooms and tomatoes. Cook until the liquid from the tomatoes have evaporated. Add this mixture to cooked spaghetti. Fold in spinach — it will wilt but not overly cook it.
- Pour pasta sauce into the noodle mixture. When you’re ready to serve, garnish with torn basil leaves.
Remember the pesto I made earlier in the week? I promised it would show up again later in the week. So here it is…
Wednesday night for me includes watching Modern Family & Top Chef. This is my routine since I got back from Hawaii. I like it and not much will get in the way of my hot date with my TV.
With that being said, I’m not going to make some exquisite meal which requires more kitchen time than couch time. Quick meals on a night like this are a must…. so I give you Creamy Pesto & Goat Cheese Pasta with Spinach & Sun Dried Tomatoes.
Quick Meal = Quick Post.
Creamy Pesto & Goat Cheese Pasta with Spinach & Sun Dried Tomatoes (recipe serves 2)
- 1 1/2 cups mini penne pasta, uncooked
- 2 tbs butter or olive oil
- 2 tbs flour
- 1 cup skim milk, warm
- 1/4 cup pesto
- 1 tbs goat cheese
- 1/2 cup spinach
- 2 tbs sun dried tomatoes, cut julienne
- 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a casserole dish with cooking spray.
- In a pot of boiling water, add uncooked pasta. Cook until al dente. Drain but save 1/2 cup of pasta water. (You may need it later.) Put the drained pasta back in the pot.
- In a sauce pan at medium heat, add butter and flour. Stir consistently until the paste has a light blonde color. Slowly stream in warm milk and keep stirring until all of the milk is in the pan. Your sauce will be thick.
- Add pesto & goat cheese to the sauce. Taste — add salt & pepper if needed.
- In the pasta pot, add spinach, sun dried tomatoes & pesto sauce. Stir and incorporate all ingredients. Add pasta water if the mixture needs to be thinned out. You probably won’t need to add the full 1/2 cup of pasta water; you can be the judge of what the recipe needs.
- Pour pasta into the casserole dish. Sprinkle cheese over the pasta. Bake for 10 minutes.