Monday, March 21, 2011

Meatless Monday: Penne Primavera

It's Meatless Monday again! I must be getting older because it just seems like time flies.

Today, I'm going to share one of my family's favorite recipes, Penne Primavera. I actually got the recipe from (direct link to the recipe: It's so flavorful, light, and healthy, and it's perfect for a warm day.
We make this dish a few times a month, and even my toddler son loves it. His favorite parts are the pasta and peas, but he eats a few pieces of broccoli and carrots (if he's acting picky, I shove little bits of broccoli in the pasta, and he eats them right up).

My husband and I both cook this dish, so it's definitely an easy one. We make a few changes from the original recipe. First, we use more garlic--a lot more garlic. I mince up about four cloves. I toss one minced clove in with the broth and pasta, and the rest cook with (and stay with) the veggies. Second, we use more broth--usually about three cups. When the original recipe is done, we add one more step and remove the lid and allow the broth to reduce down to a sauce, adding lots of extra flavor and even a creaminess to it. We increase the cheese and carrots, and, finally, we use a whole grain pasta for nutrition purposes.

Here's our version of Penne Primavera:

3 cups vegetable broth
8 oz package whole-grain penne pasta
4 minced cloves of garlic, divided
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups broccoli florets
2 small carrots, julienned
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

1. Pour the broth into a medium sauce pan. Add one clove of minced garlic and bring to a boil. Stir in penne and allow to cook for about 5 minutes, until almost al dente.

2. While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil and remaining garlic in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the broccoli and carrots and cook for approximately two minutes, until it's heated through and broccoli is green.

3. Transfer the partially cooked pasta and broth into the skillet. Mix in peas. Cover the skillet and continue cooking over medium heat or until pasta is al dente and vegetables are tender. Remove the cover and cook for an additional 3-5 minutes, until the broth thickens into a sauce. Sprinkle each serving with a 1/4 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese and serve warm.

Here's a quick look at the nutrition and cost of our altered version of Penne Primavera:
Approximately 400 calories/serving
Approximately 18.5 grams of protein/serving
Costs approximately $2/serving

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