I’m not one who feels compelled to serve a starch at every meal. I’d rather double my serving of veggies or add a hearty side salad. I might even throw some cooked rice or lentils into a salad to beef it up a bit. But my eaters enjoy their side dishes and I’m easily bored by potatoes. The poor Irish. I don’t know what I would have done. Really? Potatoes? Again?
Since I had a flank steak on the grill and my green beans were cleaned and stemmed, I only needed a few minutes to throw this together right before the meat came off to rest. You can cook your pasta ahead since it’s combined later with the hot ingredients to re-warm it. I especially enjoyed this as a side because it was anything but “potato boring.” There are a lot of flavors swirling around in this pasta – from heady garlic and parsley to the sweetness of basil and cherry tomatoes. I think it would be great adapted to a cold pasta salad, as well, to make it perfect for any end-of-summer picnics you might have on calendar. Enjoy!
Penne with Herbs, Tomatoes, and Peas (recipe courtesy Cooking Light, June 2013)
- 8 ounces uncooked penne pasta
- 1 cup frozen green peas
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 3 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/3 cup thinly sliced fresh basil leaves
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1 ounce fresh Parmesan cheese, shaved (about 1/4 cup)
1. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Add peas during last 2 minutes of cooking. Drain.
2. Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-low heat. Add oil; swirl to coat. Add garlic; cook 4 minutes or until garlic begins to brown, stirring occasionally. Increase heat to medium-high. Add tomatoes to pan; cook 1 minute. Add pasta mixture, salt, and pepper to pan; cook 3 minutes or until thoroughly heated, stirring occasionally. Stir in basil and parsley. Sprinkle with cheese.
***Cook’s Notes: Don’t cook your garlic for 4 minutes. It’ll be scorched beyond belief and your pasta will be ruined. Keep a close eye on it and throw in the tomatoes when it becomes fragrant, not brown. Also, it’s super easy to over cook a tomato, too. The recipe says cook for one minute, but I’d say less. You still have to return the pasta to the dish and re-warm, which will be plenty of time for the tomatoes to heat through. The original recipe called for regular pasta. I substituted whole wheat to boost fiber and protein.