Creamy Pesto Mac with Spinach

I bought a little jar of pesto recently and have been having fun finding ways to add it to everyday recipes. Yesterday I noticed a half bag of macaroni that had been sitting in my pantry for a few months and I just knew it was begging for the pesto treatment. So, I whipped up a quick […]

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I bought a little jar of pesto recently and have been having fun finding ways to add it to everyday recipes. Yesterday I noticed a half bag of macaroni that had been sitting in my pantry for a few months and I just knew it was begging for the pesto treatment. So, I whipped up a quick béchamel sauce, stirred in some grated Parmesan, and a good dollop of pesto. I poured the luxurious sauce over my cooked macaroni then aded couple handfuls of thawed frozen spinach (because I’m all about balance), and had myself the most delicious and creamy pesto mac and cheese.

Originally posted 3-8-2016, updated 4-26-2021.

Close up overhead view of a bowl of creamy pesto mac with spinach, fork in the center

What Kind of Pesto is Best?

I used a simple basil pesto, but the wonderful thing about this recipe is that it is very flexible. You could do a homemade Kale Pesto, you could do a sun-dried tomato pesto, or practically any flavor pesto that you’d like. 

How to Use Leftover Pesto

Pesto is definitely an expensive ingredient, but it’s so potent that you really don’t need a lot to add big flavor to your recipes. The little jar I bought contains about 3/4 cup pesto and costs $3.99. I usually only use about ¼ cup at a time in a recipe, so there is always some leftover. Here are some other recipes that use pesto:

If you can’t find uses for your leftovers immediately, pesto can be frozen. A lot of people like to spoon it into ice cube trays so they can grab a couple tablespoons at a time to toss into recipes like pasta, salad dressings, and other sauces.

What Else Can I Add to Pesto Mac and Cheese?

You can really take this recipe so many different directions! Try adding a handful of sun dried tomatoes, or maybe some chopped up rotisserie chicken. Or try topping it with some crumbled feta, bacon bits, or some buttered breadcrumbs!

Close up of a spoonful of creamy pesto mac with the pot in the background

Close up side view of a bowl of creamy pesto mac with spinach

Creamy Pesto Mac and Cheese with Spinach

A simple creamy sauce infused with basil pesto makes this Creamy Pesto Mac and Cheese with spinach the ultimate comfort food WITH a dose of vegetables!
Total Cost $4.05 reicpe / $0.68 serving
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 6 (1 cup each)
Calories 333.58kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups uncooked macaroni $0.50
  • 2 Tbsp butter $0.22
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour $0.02
  • 2 cups whole milk $0.60
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan $0.53
  • 1/4 cup basil pesto $1.33
  • 1/2 tsp salt $0.02
  • Freshly cracked pepper $0.03
  • 1/2 lb. frozen spinach $0.80

Instructions

  • Thaw the spinach at room temperature or in the microwave. Squeeze out the excess water. Set the spinach aside. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, then add the macaroni. Boil for 7-10 minutes, or until tender. Drain the macaroni in a colander.
  • While the pasta is boiling, prepare the sauce. Add the butter and flour to a small sauce pot. Heat and stir the butter and flour over medium heat until it forms a creamy paste and begins to bubble. Continue to stir and cook for about one minute more.
  • Whisk the milk into the butter and flour, then allow it to come up to a simmer, while whisking. When it reaches a simmer, the sauce will thicken. Remove the sauce from the heat.
  • Whisk the Parmesan and pesto into the sauce until smooth. This will further thicken the sauce. Season the sauce with salt and freshly cracked pepper. Make sure the sauce is well seasoned as the flavors will be less concentrated once the pasta and spinach are stirred in.
  • Return the cooked and drained pasta to the large pot (heat turned off) and add the thawed spinach. Pour the sauce over top, then stir until everything is combined and coated in sauce. Serve immediately.

Video

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 333.58kcal | Carbohydrates: 39.75g | Protein: 12.33g | Fat: 14.08g | Sodium: 665.92mg | Fiber: 2.75g

Close up side view of a bowl of creamy pesto mac with spinach

How to Make Pesto Mac and Cheese – Step by Step Photos

Macaroni being poured into a pot of boiling water

Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the macaroni. Once boiling, add two cups of macaroni and continue to boil until tender but not mushy. Drain the pasta in a colander.

Thawed spinach in a bowl

While the macaroni is boiling, thaw 1/2 lb. spinach and then squeeze out some of the excess water. It doesn’t have to be bone-dry, just make sure it’s not sopping wet.

Butter and flour being whisked in a sauce pot

Place 2 Tbsp butter and 2 Tbsp flour into a small sauce pot. Heat them over a medium flame while whisking. Once bubbling, continue to stir and cook for about a minute. This mixture is called a roux (this is a blonde roux, in particular) and is used to thicken the sauce. Cooking it for a minute or so slightly toasts the flour so that you don’t have that raw paste-like flavor to your sauce.

Milk being poured into the sauce pot with the roux

Whisk in two cups of whole milk. Let the mixture come to a simmer, whisking occasionally to make sure the milk doesn’t scorch on the bottom.

Thickened white sauce on the back of a spoon

Once the milk starts simmering, that’s when the roux magic happens. The milk will thicken slightly. It won’t be as thick as a cheese sauce at this point, but it should have noticeably more body. Turn the heat off.

Grated Parmesan being added to the sauce pot

Whisk in 1/2 cup grated Parmesan. The cheese will help thicken the sauce even more. 

A measuring cup full of basil pesto held over the sauce pot

Then whisk in 1/4 cup basil pesto.

Salt and pepper added to the creamy pesto sauce

Finally, season the sauce with salt and freshly cracked pepper. You want the sauce to be pretty heavily seasoned because it will taste less concentrated once the pasta and spinach are stirred in. I used 1/2 tsp salt and about 5-10 cranks of a pepper mill.

Creamy pesto sauce and spinach added to the pot with the cooked macaroni

Return the cooked and drained pasta to the large pot it was cooked in, add the thawed and squeezed spinach, then pour the creamy sauce over top.

Finished creamy pesto mac in a pot with a large spoon

Then stir all that creamy pesto goodness together. Oh my.

Overhead view of a bowl full of creamy pesto mac with spinach, a fork in the center

I’ll just say it one more time, then leave it there… Creamy Pesto Mac and Cheese with Spinach–OH MY.

Creamy Pesto Mac with Spinach - BudgetBytes.com

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Charred Asparagus Kale Pasta with Lemony Cannellini Beans

Charred Asparagus Kale Pasta with a creamy, lemony, Cannellini Bean Leek Sauce.  This healthy spring vegan pasta comes together in less than 30 minutes!  Each morning we are born again.  What we do today is what matters most.~ Buddha I am loving easy …

Charred Asparagus Kale Pasta with a creamy Cannellini Bean Leek Sauce.  This healthy, spring, vegan pasta recipe comes together in less than 30 minutes! #veganpasta #pasta #springpasta #asparaguspasta

Charred Asparagus Kale Pasta with a creamy, lemony, Cannellini Bean Leek Sauce.  This healthy spring vegan pasta comes together in less than 30 minutes!  Each morning we are born again.  What we do today is what matters most.~ Buddha I am loving easy suppers right now as springtime just beckons us outdoors!  This vegan pasta...

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Broccoli Pasta Salad with Tomato Vinaigrette

This Broccoli Pasta Salad features a tangy homemade vinaigrette, nutty sunflower seeds, and creamy-salty feta.

The post Broccoli Pasta Salad with Tomato Vinaigrette appeared first on Budget Bytes.

It’s that time of year again. The time of year when all I want to eat are cold salads with crunchy vegetables. And since fresh broccoli is one of my favorite crunchy vegetables, I decided to build a pasta salad featuring broccoli and my new favorite homemade salad dressing. This Broccoli Pasta Salad features a tangy homemade tomato vinaigrette, nutty sunflower seeds, savory red onions, and pops of creamy-salty feta. This flavor-texture combo is just magic!

Overhead of an oval serving tray full of broccoli pasta salad with black utensils in the side

Pasta Options

I used a rotini pasta for this salad because all the little twisty crevices are great at grabbing onto the salad dressing, making sure there’s tons of flavor in every bite. That being said, you could definitely do something like a penne, bowtie, or orecchiette instead. I think the nutty flavor of whole wheat pasta would actually go really well with the flavors in this salad, too.

Salad Dressing Options

I’ve included a homemade tomato vinaigrette with this recipe, but if you’re not a fan of tomato you could do a basic Italian dressing in its place, or something like a champagne vinaigrette. I’d stick to dressings that are light and tangy.

Is the Broccoli Raw??

The last time I posted a salad recipe with raw broccoli, there were quite a few people who were surprised that you could (or that you would want to) eat raw broccoli. Yes, the broccoli in this salad is raw. Raw broccoli is deliciously crunchy but does have a very different flavor from cooked broccoli. If you prefer cooked broccoli, I suggest using roasted broccoli to give an extra flavor boost to the salad.

Close up side view of broccoli pasta salad with tomato vinaigrette on a platter
Close up side view of broccoli pasta salad with tomato vinaigrette on a platter

Broccoli Pasta Salad with Tomato Vinaigrette

This Broccoli Pasta Salad features a tangy homemade vinaigrette, nutty sunflower seeds, and creamy-salty feta.
Total Cost $4.67 recipe / $1.17 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4 1.5 cups each
Calories 576.05kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

Tomato Basil Vinaigrette

  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste $0.05
  • 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar $0.20
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil $0.05
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp sugar $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp salt $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.02
  • 6 Tbsp olive oil $0.96

Salad

  • 1/2 lb. rotini pasta $0.38
  • 1 lb. broccoli $0.89
  • 1/2 cup diced red onion $0.16
  • 1/4 cup unsalted sunflower seeds $0.25
  • 4 oz. feta $1.65

Instructions

  • Prepare the vinaigrette first. Whisk together the tomato paste, red wine vinegar, basil, garlic powder, sugar, salt, and pepper in a bowl until smooth. Begin to whisk in the olive oil, one tablespooon at a time, until fully incorporated. Set the vinaigrette aside.
  • Cook the rotini pasta according to the package directions (boil for 7-10 minutes, or until tender). Drain the pasta in a colander. Rinse briefly with cool water to cool off the pasta. Drain well.
  • While the pasta is cooking, cut the broccoli florets off the stems, then roughly chop the florets into small, bite-sized pieces. Finely dice the red onion.
  • Once the pasta has drained, transfer it to a large bowl. Add the chopped broccoli, red onion, and sunflower seeds. Crumble the feta over top. Drizzle the dressing into the bowl and then gently toss the ingredients until they are evenly combined and everything is coated in dressing. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to eat.

Nutrition

Serving: 1.5cups | Calories: 576.05kcal | Carbohydrates: 56.45g | Protein: 16.78g | Fat: 32.9g | Sodium: 575.15mg | Fiber: 6.38g
Overhead of broccoli pasta salad on a platter with a bowl of sunflower seeds and broccoli florets on the side

How to Make Broccoli Pasta Salad with Tomato Vinaigrette – Step by Step Photos

tomato paste, vinegar, and herbs in a bowl

Begin the tomato vinaigrette first. Whisk together 1 Tbsp tomato paste, 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar, ½ tsp dried basil, ¼ tsp garlic powder, ¼ tsp sugar, ¼ tsp salt, and ¼ tsp freshly cracked pepper until smooth.

One tablespoon oil being added to tomato paste mixture in the bowl

Begin to whisk in olive oil, one tablespoon at a time, until you’ve incorporated 6 Tbsps. Set the dressing aside.

Cooked rotini in a colander

Next, cook ½ lb. rotini according to the package directions (boil 7-10 minutes, or until tender). Drain the pasta in a colander. Give it a brief rinse to cool it off, then let it drain well.

Chopped broccoli on a cutting board

Chop about 1 lb. of fresh broccoli into small, bite-sized pieces. They don’t have to be pretty florets, just chop away until the pieces are fairly small. Also finely dice about ½ cup red onion.

Broccoli pasta salad ingredients in a bowl

Once cooled, transfer the pasta to a bowl and add the chopped broccoli, diced red onion, ¼ cup unsalted sunflower seeds, and about 4oz. feta.

Tomato vinaigrette being poured over the pasta salad ingredients

Pour the tomato vinaigrette over top…

Finished broccoli pasta salad in a bowl with a red spatula

Then gently toss everything together until well combined and everything is coated in dressing. Enjoy immediately or refrigerate for later!

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Spaghetti with Hidden Vegetable Pasta Sauce

This week I had a killer craving for some classic spaghetti and meat sauce. But, as you may know, I like to add vegetables whenever and wherever I can to recipes. So I shredded a couple of handfuls of vegetables, tossed them into the sauce, and added some extra herbs and spices to make this […]

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This week I had a killer craving for some classic spaghetti and meat sauce. But, as you may know, I like to add vegetables whenever and wherever I can to recipes. So I shredded a couple of handfuls of vegetables, tossed them into the sauce, and added some extra herbs and spices to make this absolutely incredible “hidden vegetable” pasta sauce. It has more flavor, more color, and more texture (read: fiber). It’s a win-win-win!

 Originally posted 11-21-2015, updated 4-17-2021.

Overhead view of a bowl of spaghetti with hidden vegetable pasta sauce and garlic bread on the side

Shown with Homemade Garlic Bread

Balance Your Costs with Vegetables

My favorite trick for stretching ground meat in recipes is to use vegetables or beans to replace half of the ground meat. This time I shredded vegetables, which mimicked the texture of the ground meat, but added a subtle sweetness and a whole lot of extra flavor, texture, and nutrition to the sauce. This sauce is so delicious that I couldn’t stop sneaking spoonfuls while I took photos!

Can I Make This Sauce Vegetarian?

If you want to make a vegetarian version of this hidden vegetable pasta sauce, I suggest mincing an 8oz. container of mushrooms and sautéing them with the onions and garlic. The minced texture will mimic the ground meat and mushrooms have that umami flavor that is similar to ground meat.

Is Hidden Vegetable Pasta Sauce Freezer Friendly?

This sauce freezes great if you want to make a double batch and have it on hand in your freezer for busy nights. Just make sure to cool the sauce completely in the refrigerator first, then transfer to the freezer. The sauce will stay good in the freezer for months. To reheat, empty the freezer container into a sauce pot and heat over medium-low, stirring occasionally, until heated through.

Side view of hidden vegetable pasta sauce in a skillet with a spatula

Overhead view of a bowl of spaghetti with hidden vegetable pasta sauce

Spaghetti with Hidden Vegetable Pasta Sauce

Give your spaghetti an upgrade with this hidden vegetable pasta sauce that contains a medley of vegetables plus extra herbs and spices for maximum flavor.
Total Cost $6.21 recipe / $1.55 serving
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 366.78kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1 small zucchini $0.57
  • 2 carrots $0.16
  • 1 yellow onion $0.25
  • 2 cloves garlic $0.16
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil $0.16
  • 1/2 lb. ground beef $2.50
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil $0.05
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano $0.05
  • 1/4 tsp salt $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp Freshly cracked black pepper $0.03
  • 1 pinch crushed red pepper (optional) $0.02
  • 1 24oz. jar pasta sauce* $1.49
  • 12 oz. spaghetti $0.75

Instructions

  • Use a cheese grater to grate the zucchini and carrots. You'll want about 1.5 cups of each, but the amount is flexible. Dice the onion and mince the garlic.
  • Add the olive oil and ground beef to a large, deep skillet. Cook the ground beef over medium heat until it is fully browned. Add the diced onion and garlic and continue to sauté a few minutes more, or until the onions are soft and translucent.
  • Add the shredded zucchini and carrots to the skillet along with the basil, oregano, salt, freshly cracked pepper, and a pinch of red pepper. Continue to sauté until the vegetables are wilted (about five minutes).
  • Add the pasta sauce to the skillet and stir to combine. Allow the contents of the skillet to come up to a simmer, then turn the heat down to low and simmer the sauce as you prepare the spaghetti. Stir the sauce occasionally as it simmers.
  • Cook the spaghetti according to the package directions, then drain in a colander. Return the drained spaghetti to the pot with the heat turned off. Add one cup of the prepared sauce to the pasta and stir to coat. Divide the pasta into serving bowls and top with additional sauce.

Notes

*Use your favorite brand or flavor of red pasta sauce.

Nutrition

Serving: 1Serving | Calories: 366.78kcal | Carbohydrates: 46.73g | Protein: 25.98g | Fat: 13.53g | Sodium: 979.83mg | Fiber: 7.78g

Close up of a fork twirling spaghetti with hidden vegetable pasta sauce

How to Make Hidden Vegetable Pasta Sauce – Step by Step Photos

Shredded zucchini and carrot on a cutting board

Start by preparing your vegetables. Use a cheese grater to grate one small zucchini and two carrots. You’ll want about 1.5 cups each, but this is flexible so don’t sweat it if you have a little more or less. Also dice one yellow onion and mince two cloves of garlic.

Browned ground beef with onions and garlic

Add 1/2 lb. ground beef in a large deep skillet with 1 Tbsp olive oil and cook over medium heat until the beef has browned. Once browned, add the diced onion and minced garlic. Sauté for a few minutes more, or until the onions are soft and translucent.

Shredded vegetables added to the skillet with the meat

Add the shredded zucchini and carrots to the skillet along with 1/2 tsp dried basil, 1/2 tsp dried oregano, 1/4 tsp salt, about ¼ tsp freshly cracked pepper, and a pinch of red pepper flakes (optional). Continue to sauté the vegetables until they soften, or about five minutes. 

Pasta sauce being poured into the skillet with the meat and vegetables

Finally, add one 24oz. jar of your favorite pasta sauce and stir to combine. Allow the sauce to come back up to a simmer, then turn the heat down to low and continue to let the contents of the skillet simmer as you begin to prepare your spaghetti.

Simmered hidden vegetable pasta sauce in the skillet

Stir the sauce occasionally as it simmers. The vegetables will continue to soften as the sauce simmers, further “hiding” them in the sauce.

Spaghetti and sauce in the stock pot

Cook 12oz. of spaghetti according to the package directions, then drain in a colander. Return the pasta to the cooking pot with the heat turned off and add about 1 cup of the sauce. Stir to coat the pasta with the sauce.

Overhead view of a bowl of spaghetti with hidden vegetable pasta sauce

Divide the pasta into serving bowls, then top each bowl with additional sauce. This stuff is seriously so good, my mouth is watering just looking at that bowl!

Pasta sauce in a freezer bag

And don’t forget, this sauce is freezer-friendly! Just make sure to cool it completely in the refrigerator first, then place in a freezer-safe container (I used freezer bags), label, date, and freeze for later! It can be thawed in a saucepot over low, stirring occasionally.

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One-Pot Chicken and Artichoke Cavatappi

This One-Pot Chicken and Artichoke Cavatappi with kale and sun-dried tomatoes, flavored with lemon juice, garlic, and oregano, is bursting with flavor. One-Pot Chicken and Artichoke Cavatappi The artichokes in this Chicken and Artichoke Cavatappi make this dish extra delicious. If you’ve never cooked with them, this pasta recipe is a great place to start. […]

The post One-Pot Chicken and Artichoke Cavatappi appeared first on Skinnytaste.

This One-Pot Chicken and Artichoke Cavatappi with kale and sun-dried tomatoes, flavored with lemon juice, garlic, and oregano, is bursting with flavor.

One Pot Chicken and Artichoke Cavatappi
One-Pot Chicken and Artichoke Cavatappi

The artichokes in this Chicken and Artichoke Cavatappi make this dish extra delicious. If you’ve never cooked with them, this pasta recipe is a great place to start. Did you know that artichokes are a good source of vitamins C and K, fiber, and protein, and low in calories? Plus, cleanup is pretty fast since you only have to wash one pot – sign me up! For more artichoke recipes, try my Chicken Thighs with Artichoke Hearts and Feta Cheese and Hot Spinach Artichoke Dip , and don’t miss this One-Pot Spaghetti Puttanesca.

(more…)

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Lemon Parsley Pasta

Lemon Parsley Pasta is bright, garlicky, and full of rich Parmesan flavor. It makes a great side dish or bed for chicken or fish.

The post Lemon Parsley Pasta appeared first on Budget Bytes.

I’ve been alllll about the easy side dishes lately and this Lemon Parsley Pasta is one of the best! It only takes a few ingredients to really transform plain pasta into something totally scrumptious. And that scrumptious, lemony, garlicky, Parmesan-y goodness makes a great side to just about anything. Or just add some chicken or shrimp and make it your main dish! YUM.

Originally posted 9-3-2009, updated 3-16-2021.

Close up of a fork twirling some of the lemon parsley pasta on a platter with sliced lemons as garnish

What Kind of Pasta is Best?

While you can technically use any pasta shape for this (what pasta isn’t good with Parmesan and garlic??), I really like thin spaghetti or angel hair. The fine pasta creates tons of surface area for the lemon and Parmesan to adhere, so you get tons of flavor in every bite!

Do I Need Fresh Lemon?

Yes, you absolutely want to use fresh lemon for this Lemon Parsley Pasta. This recipe takes advantage of the lemon zest, which provides a lot of lemon flavor without adding a ton of acidity like the juice. This recipe is the perfect candidate for using up any frozen lemons you might have stashed in the freezer (see my tutorial on how to freeze lemons).

What to Serve with Lemon Parsley Pasta

I served my lemon parsley pasta with something new this week (recipe coming in a couple of days), but there are so many other things it would go great with. It would make a great bed for Garlic Butter Shrimp, Garlic Marinated Chicken, Garlic Butter Baked Cod, or even these Sheet Pan Greek Chicken and Vegetables. And because the pasta has so much flavor, you can always add a simple green side, like Oven Roasted Broccoli.

Overhead view of lemon parsley pasta on an oval serving dish with lemon slices as garnishes
Close up side view of lemon parsley pasta on a platter with lemon slices

Lemon Parsley Pasta

Lemon Parsley Pasta is bright, garlicky, and full of rich Parmesan flavor. It makes a great side dish or bed for chicken or fish. 
Total Cost $2.81 recipe / $0.70 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 309.98kcal

Ingredients

  • 8 oz. thin spaghetti $0.50
  • 1 fresh lemon $0.89
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced $0.16
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley $0.70
  • 1/8 tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.02
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil $0.16
  • 2 Tbsp butter $0.14
  • 2 Tbsp grated Parmesan $0.22
  • 1/4 tsp salt $0.02

Instructions

  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Once boiling, add the pasta and boil until tender (about 7-8 minutes). Drain the pasta in a colander.
  • While the pasta is cooking, zest the lemon (you'll need about 1 Tbsp). Chop the parsley and combine it with the Parmesan, lemon zest, and pepper in a bowl. Set the bowl aside.
  • While the pasta is draining, add the olive oil and minced garlic to the pot used to cook the pasta. Sauté the garlic in the oil over medium heat for 1-2 minutes, or just until it becomes fragrant.
  • Remove the pot from the heat and add the drained pasta and butter to the pot with the garlic. Toss the pasta until the residual heat has melted the butter and the pasta is coated in garlic and butter.
  • Add the parsley Parmesan mixture to the pot and toss to coat again. Squeeze about 1 Tbsp of the lemon juice over the pasta and season with salt (about ¼ tsp). Toss to combine, then taste, and adjust the salt, pepper, or Parmesan to your liking. Serve warm.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 309.98kcal | Carbohydrates: 44.45g | Protein: 8.55g | Fat: 10.85g | Sodium: 276.35mg | Fiber: 2.28g
Close up side view of lemon parsley pasta on a platter with lemon slices

How to Make Lemon Parsley Pasta – Step by Step Photos

Thin spaghetti coming out of the box

Begin cooking the pasta first because most of the other prep can be done while the pasta is cooking. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Once boiling, add 8 oz. thin spaghetti and continue to boil until the pasta is tender (about 7-8 minutes). Drain the pasta in a colander.

Chopped parsley, lemon zest, Parmesan, and pepper in a bowl

While the pasta is cooking, zest the lemon (you’ll need about 1 Tbsp zest) and chop about ½ cup fresh parsley. Add the parsley and lemon zest to a bowl, along with 2 Tbsp grated Parmesan and ⅛ tsp fresh cracked pepper. Stir to combine.

Garlic sautéing in a pot with oil

Once you’ve drained the pasta, add two cloves minced garlic and 1 Tbsp olive oil to the pot used to cook the pasta. Sauté the garlic over medium heat for 1-2 minutes.

Drained pasta and butter added back to the pot.

Turn the heat off and add the drained pasta back to the pot (it should still be hot) along with 2 Tbsp butter. Toss the pasta and allow the residual heat to melt the butter. Toss until the pasta is coated in the melted butter.

parsley and parmesan mixture being poured into the pot

Add the parsley and Parmesan mixture to the pasta and toss to coat again. The pasta should be very warm at this point but not hot enough to melt the Parmesan. You want the Parmesan to sort of coat the pasta instead of melting in.

Lemon being squeezed into the pasta in the pot

Squeeze about 1 Tbsp lemon juice over the pasta and season with about ¼ tsp salt. Toss to coat one final time. Give the pasta a taste and adjust the salt, pepper, or Parmesan to your liking.

Overhead view of an oval platter full of lemon parsley pasta with lemon slices as garnish

Serve warm! (I sliced up the remaining lemon and used it as garnish, but that’s just me being extra fancy.)

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Pasta with Broccolini, Preserved Lemon and Chickpeas

This simple Pasta with Broccolini, Preserved Lemon and Chickpeas is punchy and bright and comes together quickly and easily – on the table in under 30 minutes!  A tasty healthy weeknight dinner! We’ve been amping up our broccolini and broc…

This simple Pasta with Broccolini, Preserved Lemon and Chickpeas is punchy and bright and comes together quickly and easily - on the table in under 30 minutes!  A tasty healthy weeknight dinner! #spaghetti #broccolipasta #broccolini

This simple Pasta with Broccolini, Preserved Lemon and Chickpeas is punchy and bright and comes together quickly and easily – on the table in under 30 minutes!  A tasty healthy weeknight dinner! We’ve been amping up our broccolini and broccoli intake lately, making a point to have it weekly.  Here’s a simple little pasta recipe...

The post Pasta with Broccolini, Preserved Lemon and Chickpeas appeared first on Feasting At Home

One-Pot Spaghetti Puttanesca

One-Pot Spaghetti Puttanesca is full of big, bold flavors from the anchovies, Kalamata olives, and capers – the trifecta for a winning puttanesca. One-Pot Spaghetti Puttanesca This One-Pot Spaghetti Puttanesca is so delicious and what’s better than a meal made all in one pot for easy cleanup?! Garlic, red pepper, and oregano are also added […]

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One-Pot Spaghetti Puttanesca is full of big, bold flavors from the anchovies, Kalamata olives, and capers – the trifecta for a winning puttanesca.

One-Pot Spaghetti Puttanesca
One-Pot Spaghetti Puttanesca

This One-Pot Spaghetti Puttanesca is so delicious and what’s better than a meal made all in one pot for easy cleanup?! Garlic, red pepper, and oregano are also added to the sauce with the grape tomatoes and spaghetti for an easy and quick dinner. For more one-pot pasta recipes, try my One-Pot Spaghetti and Meat Sauce and Instant Pot Baked Ziti.

(more…)

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Creamy Tomato Pasta with Sausage

A few simple add-ins make this Creamy Tomato Pasta with Sausage a level up from your usual weeknight spaghetti dinner.

The post Creamy Tomato Pasta with Sausage appeared first on Budget Bytes.

I’m all about making sure the last little odds and ends of ingredients in my fridge or freezer get used up. So this week, instead of making just another batch of plain pasta and red sauce, I jazzed it up with a little leftover heavy cream, the last of a bag of spinach, and some Italian sausage instead of ground beef. Simple swaps and add-ins make this Creamy Tomato Pasta with Sausage a level up from your usual weeknight pasta!

Overhead view of a pan full of Creamy Tomato Pasta with Sausage with a spoon in the side

What’s in the Creamy Tomato Sauce?

This red sauce is basically the same as the sauce for my Baked Ziti, which is super rich and tomatoey. To calm the acidity a bit and make it extra lush, I added a little heavy cream. The addition of the cream is absolutely magic.

Can I Substitute the Heavy Cream?

I sometimes melt a little cream cheese into my pasta sauces, which creates a creamy and tangy finish, so that’s one option (use 2-4 ounces). The other option is to just leave it out and keep it as a basic red sauce. You do not want to use milk or another lower-fat dairy product because the combination of the heat and the acid from the tomatoes will likely cause it to curdle. Another reason why the heavy cream is magic.

Can I Use a Different Pasta?

Absolutely! Since the pasta is cooked separately, unlike one pot pastas, you can use any type or shape of pasta that you like. And you don’t have to worry too much about measuring, just use approximately half of a one pound package.

What Other Vegetables Can I Use?

I think kale would be especially good with this combo, but since it’s quite a bit more sturdy than spinach you’ll want to sauté it in the skillet for a couple of minutes (after the sausage is browned) to soften it up. You could also try tossing in some thawed frozen broccoli florets.

A bowl full of Creamy Tomato Pasta with Sausage with garlic bread and a fork
Pictured with Homemade Garlic Bread.
front view of a bowl full of creamy tomato pasta with sausage, a bit lifted on the fork

Creamy Tomato Pasta with Sausage

A few simple add-ins make this Creamy Tomato Pasta with Sausage a level up from your usual weeknight spaghetti dinner.
Total Cost $5.75 recipe / $1.44 serving
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 542.08kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb. Italian sausage (hot, mild or sweet) $2.25
  • 2 cloves garlic $0.16
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste $0.10
  • 1 28oz. can crushed tomatoes $0.85
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning blend $0.10
  • 1/2 cup water $0.00
  • 1/2 lb. pasta* $1.25
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream $0.19
  • 4 oz. fresh spinach $0.85

Instructions

  • Add the Italian sausage to a deep skillet or pot and cook over medium heat, breaking it up into pieces as it cooks. Mince two cloves of garlic, add it to the browned sausage, and sauté for 1 minute more.
  • Next, add the tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, Italian seasoning, and water. Stir to combine and dissolve the browned bits off the bottom of the skillet. Allow the sauce to come to a simmer. Once simmering, place a tilted lid on top (to allow steam to escape while blocking splatter) and turn the heat down to medium-low. Let the sauce simmer, stirring occasionally, while you cook the pasta.
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Once boiling, add the pasta and continue to boil until the pasta is tender (7-10 minutes, depending on the variety). Drain the pasta in a colander.
  • After the pasta has cooked and the sauce has simmered a while, stir the heavy cream into the pasta sauce. Add the fresh spinach and stir it into the sauce just until wilted.
  • Finally, add the cooked and drained pasta to the sauce and stir to combine. Serve and enjoy!

Notes

*I used corkscrew pasta, or cavatappi, but you can use any shape you like.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 542.08kcal | Carbohydrates: 61.88g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 23.78g | Sodium: 843.95mg | Fiber: 6.55g
Close up side view of a skillet full of creamy tomato pasta with sausage

How to Make Creamy Tomato Pasta with Sausage – Step by Step Photos

Browned sausage and garlic in the skillet

Add ½ lb. Italian sausage (mild, hot, or sweet) to a deep skillet or pot and cook over medium heat until browned, breaking it up into pieces as you go. Mince two cloves of garlic, add them to the browned sausage and sauté for one minute more.

Tomatoes and herbs added to browned sausage

Add 2 Tbsp tomato paste, one 28oz. can of crushed tomatoes, 1 tsp Italian seasoning, and ½ cup water. Stir to combine and dissolve the browned bits from the bottom of the skillet. Plate a tilted lid on top (so that steam can escape but it shields splattering sauce) and let the sauce come up to a simmer. Once it reaches a simmer, turn the heat down to medium-low, and let the sauce simmer, stirring occasionally, while you cook the pasta.

Cooked cavatappi pasta in a colander

Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Once boiling, add ½ lb. pasta (I used cavatappi) and continue to boil until tender (7-10 minutes). Drain the pasta in a colander.

Cream being stirred into the sauce

After the sauce has simmered a while (the length of time it takes to cook the pasta), stir in ⅓ cup heavy cream. MAGIC!

fresh spinach added to the sauce

Next, add about 4oz. fresh spinach (half of an 8oz. bag) and stir it in until wilted.

drained pasta added to the sauce

Finally, add the cooked and drained pasta to the sauce and stir to combine.

Finished creamy tomato pasta with sausage in the skillet

Done and done!

front view of a bowl full of creamy tomato pasta with sausage, a bit lifted on the fork

I served it with some of my Homemade Garlic Bread because that crispy garlicky goodness is perfect with red sauce!

The post Creamy Tomato Pasta with Sausage appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Homemade Cavatelli

Simple, homemade cavatelli pasta is a super fun shape to make! Pictured here spiked with turmeric and black pepper, and topped with roasted winter vegetables and Parmesan.

Continue reading Homemade Cavatelli on 101 Cookbooks

I spent most of the past four months in Northern California at my dad’s house. After my mom died everyone converged on the house, and in short order a lot of other things fell apart. No one went home for a long time. I made some strange decisions about what to bring when I loaded the car that initial morning – watercolors, a stack of cookbooks, my camera, a favorite knife, a huge bin full of spices. I thought about bringing my favorite donabe, but was worried it could break and grabbed my pasta machine instead. Not a bad call – a lot of pasta was made! My nephew is especially enthusiastic about it, so I decided to branch out to a new shape – cavatelli.
Homemade Cavatelli Pasta
The move to cavatelli was partially out of necessity. My workhorse, the Atlas pasta machine, has issues at my dad’s house. There is nothing to clamp it on to. Every countertop and table is too thick. It’s maddening. I noticed the clamp on the cavatelli maker seemed like it might be wider, so I thought we’d try it instead. It is also worth mentioning, I’ve been meaning to buy a cavatelli maker for years. Ragazza, a sweet little Italian spot, was just up the street from where we lived in San Francisco. The owner Sharon tipped me off to how she made their cavatelli from scratch with a little hand-cranked machine (something like this one) – and I’ve meant to get my hands on once since. This seemed like the right time.
Pasta Dough Rolled thin for Cavatelli

About this Cavatelli Recipe

After a good amount of experimenting, I’ve settled on the following as my basic cavatelli dough and technique. Once you master it, the variations you can explore are endless (see below). The cavatelli machine likes pasta dough that’s not-too-wet and not-too-dry. If you hit the sweet spot, you’ll be able to crank out a pound of cavatelli incredibly quickly. If your dough is getting stuck in your machine, pat it with flour, dust off any excess, and try again. You’ll eventually get a feel for it!
Homemade Cavatelli and Cavatelli Machine

What if I don’t have a Cavatelli Machine?

Not a big deal! You can make it by hand a number of other ways. Here’s a page that demonstrates how to shape cavatelli with a ridged board, fork, or grater. I’ve also seen it shaped traditionally in Puglia using something like a butter knife.
Close-up Photo of Cavatelli

What Flour Should I Use?

Cavatelli is traditionally made with durum wheat semolina flour. But, if you don’t have that on hand, don’t let it stop you. Last week I was out of semolina flour, so the cavatelli you see pictured here was made with “00” flour. “00” is powder-fine and made with low gluten, soft wheat flour. If you don’t have “00” you can certainly use all-purpose flour. A long way of saying, make cavatelli with 100% semolina flour if you have it, or use equal parts “00” and semolina, or just “00″….go for the all-purpose flour if that’s what you have.
Homemade Cavatelli with Roasted Winter Vegetables

How To Freeze Cavatelli

Freezing is my preferred method of storing any cavatelli I’m not cooking immediately. Arrange freshly made, uncooked cavatelli across a floured baking sheet. Try to make sure they’re in a single layer. Freeze for a couple of hours, and then transfer to double layer plastic bags. You can freeze for up to a couple of months. And you can cook straight from the freezer. No need to thaw, just dump the cavatelli into boiling salted water, and increase the cooking time a bit.
Roasted Vegetables

Cavatelli Variations

In the recipe below you can see how you can tweak basic cavatelli pasta dough by adding different seasonings and spices. I wanted to make a bright, sunny plate of pasta with lots of roasted yellow and orange vegetables and ingredients like cauliflower, golden yellow beets, and winter squash (pictured above). I added turmeric and black pepper to the pasta dough for a little flavor, color, and boost. The possibilities are endless here.
Homemade Cavatelli Pasta

You can also play around with the water. In place of water you can use vegetable juices, purees, stocks or broths, anything of that sort is fair game.Close-up Photo of Homemade Cavatelli Pasta
Making fresh pasta is one of my favorite things to do. It’s even better when you have others around to help, taking turns in shifts. I did a basic primer on making homemade pasta a while ago, if you love fettuccine noodles or anything along those lines, start there. You can also try making gnocchi (it’s perfect with this pesto), here’s a beautiful beet fettuccine, and a favorite simple tomato sauce. And all my pasta recipes live here. Enjoy!

Continue reading Homemade Cavatelli on 101 Cookbooks