Pasta with Pesto & Veggies & Antigal's Uno Malbec

Pasta with Pesto & Veggies & Antigal’s Uno Malbec

This crowd pleasing pasta dish is one of the easiest and healthiest recipes I’ve ever come up with.  It has become my go-to dinner when I have no time, nothing else to cook or both.  All of the ingredients will keep for weeks at a time so I always keep them on hand.  And with only two pots and no prep work, your clean up crew will have it easy. Fast, nutritious, and easy to make?  I know, it makes me happy too!

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You can cook this faster than you can go and pick up takeout, which means that not only do you not have to drive anywhere but you are free to open up a nice bottle of wine that will go perfectly with this recipe.  I recommend Antigal Winery’s Uno Malbec, a well-balanced wine that makes a beautiful accompaniment for this dish that is tossed in a flavorful pesto and accented by freshly grated Aged Asiago cheese.  If you like to travel on the spicier side of the road, use a 1/4 teaspoon of crushed red pepper (rather than the “one or two shakes” listed in the recipe) and this wine will gladly take the ride with you!

 

pasta-pesto-2-0540I do need to tell you that I was given this wine at no cost so I could share my thoughts with you.  My thoughts, quite simply, can be summed up with this phrase: “Buy a whole case.”  Don’t just take my word for it though.  Tastings.com gave this “exceptional” wine 92 points and said it was a “Best Buy”.   The Somm Journal gave this “intriguing spice and generous fruit” 92 points and also said it was an “Exceptional Value”.   Now go buy a bottle for yourself.  Better yet, buy a few.

Before we get back to the pasta … this wine bottle features a very unique alternative to a glued on paper label: it has a raised “1” with a rustic look and modern matte finish along with printing directly on the bottle.  This combination is befitting of a winery that traces its roots back to the late 1800’s but now uses a state-of-the-art gravity fed system for production.   Even before you taste the wine, this bottle will stand out on any table.

 

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pasta-pesto-2-sq-wm-0512Now that you’ve got a nice wine to go with your dinner, I encourage you to enjoy a few sips while you get creative and start cooking.  Now, there is no “rule” about what you can put in this pasta – load it up to your liking!  Feel free to mix and match toppings and veggies to suit the folks you’re cooking for.  Got a few that don’t like pesto?  Toss part of the pasta in a separate bowl with garlic and olive oil.  What about that little one that likes buttered noodles?  You can skim off a bowl full of freshly drained noodles and butter them up before putting pesto on the rest.

 

 

 

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And there are so many options for the veggies!  I keep a buffet of vegetables in my freezer.  I have the giant 4 pound releasable bag of corn, peas, green beans and carrots.   I also have bags of shelled edamame, peas, and corn.  Having them in bags that you can reseal (or put in a zipper bag until next time ) makes it much easier to grab a handful and throw it into whatever you’re cooking.  Assuming your brood will all tolerate the same veggies, cook whatever combination you like in one pan.  If you’ve got one picky one that only likes peas, do a handful of those in a small frying pan.  Or tell them to suck it up and pick around the other veggies.  Your choice.

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As you can see from the pictures, I had some trouble deciding which pasta shape to use in this recipe.  My favorite shapes are farfalle (bow ties), orecchiette (little ears), and rotini (self-explanatory).

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They are easy to eat with only a fork and can be picked up by hand if  need be so they are super kid friendly.  They also have nooks to hold on to the goodies that are in the pasta – sauce, cheese, seasonings.  Together, these shapes can make lots of fun designs.  I can’t resist playing with my food but that’s another story.

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Quick and Easy Pasta with Pesto & Veggies

Quick and Easy Pasta with Pesto & Veggies

Ingredients

  • 12 oz protein rich pasta like Barilla Protein Plus
  • 24 oz frozen vegetables of your choice
  • 7 oz refrigerated pesto (I like Monterey Basil Pesto with Almonds and Pine Nuts)
  • Heaping teaspoon of minced garlic (from a jar of pre-minced garlic that you can find in the produce section)
  • Olive oil
  • Crushed red pepper flakes
  • Aged Asiago cheese, freshly grated

Instructions

  1. Take pesto out of fridge, remove plastic inside cover and stir. Let it set out on counter to warm up while everything cooks.
  2. Start water for pasta; when it boils, add pasta and cook per package directions.
  3. Add 2 Tbsp olive oil, a heaping teaspoon of minced garlic and a shake or two of crushed red pepper to a large frying pan. Pour in 24 oz frozen mixed vegetables. Cover.
  4. Turn heat up to just above medium and let it go for maybe 5 minutes.
  5. Stir, replace top and turn heat down to medium or medium low until veggies are just cooked through (you want it to keep cooking
  6. slowly and not burn or stick to the pan). Once veggies are cooked through, remove top and turn down to low so they stay warm but don’t get mushy. And if they get burned, stuck or mushy it is really unlikely anyone will notice or care. The veggies are not the main attraction here (at least for most folks).
  7. Drain pasta (but do not rinse) and quickly pour into a serving bowl. Pour in ¾ of the pesto in the container; give it a couple quick stirs.
  8. Pour veggies on top and stir some more. If it looks like it needs more pesto, toss the rest in. If not, you’ve got enough pesto to throw on some veggies for dinner tomorrow night.
  9. Top with freshly grated Asiago cheese and serve!
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