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Penne for your thoughts, part 2

By Angie Sutton


Last week’s edition featuring pasta recipes and pasta cooking tips received much reader feedback, so I’ve decided to go with a “part 2.” There are so many pasta recipes to try to you could easily fill your menu a couple days a week with a new dish. One that we found to be a “never make again” was a combination of pasta with fried eggs, so I can’t recommend that one (wink!). Here are three that were hits at Sutton Central.

One Pot Tomato Rosemary Linguine with Meatballs & Mozzarella

Adapted from source: pastafits.org. Looking for a recipe that takes minimal preparation but doesn’t sacrifice flavor? Estela Schnelle from The Weekly Bite shares her One Pot Tomato Rosemary Linguine With Meatballs & Mozzarella. Simply put all of the ingredients listed below in a large pot, cook for 10 to 15 minutes and you’ve got a meal. The best part about this recipe is that you only have to clean one dish, and you’re done. Serves 6 to 8.

16 oz. box linguine
1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes (with liquid)
3 Tbsp. fresh rosemary
1 small white onion (sliced julienne)
1 c. cherry tomatoes, halved
6 cloves garlic (sliced)
4 c. vegetable or chicken broth
2 Tbsp. olive oil
8 oz. mini mozzarella pearls
12 frozen turkey or regular meatballs
1/4 tsp pepper
Salt to taste

Place all ingredients in a large pot or large, deep sauce pan. Bring mixture to a boil then cover, reduce heat and cook an additional 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Do not overcook the pasta. Most of the liquid will be absorbed. Once the pasta is cooked, remove from heat and slowly fold in the mozzarella pearls. Cover and let sit for 3 minutes so the cheese can melt. Serve immediately.

Whole Wheat Orzo Tabouleh

Adapted from source: pastafits.org

Instead of bulgur, pastafits.org created a different twist on the traditional Arabian dish of Tabouleh using whole wheat orzo. Fresh vegetables and spices with a little olive oil and lemon juice this dish will impress your guest and can be thrown together in no time. I found this dish to be the perfect cold side dish for a summer picnic as the mint gives it a fresh taste!

1/2 lb. whole wheat orzo
3/4 c. thinly sliced scallions (about 3)
1 1/2 c. chopped, peeled cucumber
1 c. roughly chopped parsley
1/2 c. finely chopped mint
2 c. roughly chopped Roma tomatoes
1 tsp. grated garlic
1/4 c. fresh-squeezed lemon juice
5 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Cook the orzo according to package directions. Drain and reserve. Cool completely before adding scallions, cucumbers, parsley, mint and other ingredients to the orzo. Toss well. Add salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Butternut Squash Fettuccine Alfredo

Adapted from source: pastafits.org. Looking for a creamy new recipe that is nutritious and tasty? This Butternut Squash Fettuccine Alfredo from blogger and dietitian Deanna Segrave-Daly from Teaspoon of Spice makes a wonderful veggie side dish. The butternut squash adds a layer of creaminess and color to this already healthy Fettuccine Alfredo recipe.

For the squash puree:

1 (3 lb.) butternut squash, cut in half and seeds removed
2 tsp. olive oil

For the pasta:

1 lb. fettuccine or linguine
2 to 3 Tbsp. pasta water, as needed

For the sauce:

2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 1/4 c. low-fat milk, warmed in microwave for 1 minute
3/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. salt

For the squash: preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place squash, cut sides up on a baking pan with a lip (to catch any juice drippings) and drizzle each half with 1 teaspoon olive oil. Bake for about 45 to 60 minutes or until flesh is soft. Remove from oven and cool for about 10 minutes. Or cook it in the microwave: cut into large cubes, place on a deep plate with 1/4 cup of water, cover with plastic wrap and make three small slits for steam to escape, cook on high for 7 minutes. Scoop flesh out of skin and add to blender or food processor. Puree until smooth (add a few tablespoons of water or milk to help the process.) This makes about 1 1/2 cups. Set aside. Cook fettuccine in a large pot according to package instructions. Save some pasta water when draining and add pasta to a large serving bowl.

While pasta is cooking, make the sauce. In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Whisk in flour and then slowly, pour warm milk into pot, whisking as you go. Whisk frequently until roux starts to simmer rapidly and thicken a bit. Reduce to low heat and mix in butternut squash puree until well incorporated. Mix in 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese and add a few tablespoons of pasta water if the sauce is too thick. Remove from heat. Pour butternut squash sauce over hot pasta, add pepper and salt and toss well. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese and serve.

Puzzling pasta

With more than 600 shapes of pasta, I went in search of what I could find in my local stores. Here are a few that puzzled me! With a bit of research on pastafits.org, I found a few ideas.

Acini di Pepe

(“Peppercorn”) Acini di Pepe is perfect to use in soup recipes. Include them with plenty of vegetables in broths and you’ll have a wonderful outcome.


This straw-like pasta is shaped like thick spaghetti but is hollow in the center. Bucatini is the perfect choice for nearly any sauce, or it can be baked in casseroles or stir-fried in dishes. Try it with different lean proteins and sauces for a change of pace.


Cavatelli resembles tiny hot dog buns. These shapes are commonly served with thick, chunky sauces or in pasta salads. Cavatelli pairs nicely with meat, cream, seafood or vegetable sauces.


(“Little Thimbles”) This versatile shape can be used as the base of any dish. Bake it, stir it into soups or create great salads and stir-fry dishes.


This flat wide ribbon pasta is said to be similar in shape to the lasagne noodle but with a slightly narrower in size. The pasta comes in both short and long lengths.


This super tiny pasta is perfect for children. They are traditionally used in soups with Italian and Turkish cuisine.

Pipe Rigate

A hollow curved pasta that resembles a snail shell. This shape has a wide opening at one end and the other end is flattened. Pipe Rigate pairs nicely with chunky meat, chunky vegetable, cream or oil-based sauces.


(“Curl”) Riccioli’s twisted shape holds bits of meat, vegetables and cheese, so it works well with a variety of sauces, or you can use it to create fun salads, baked casseroles or stir-fry meals.


Tortiglioni is narrow, tubular pasta. This shape is commonly used to add decoration to salads or paired with a simple sauce.

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