Does summer have you longing for simplicity? It sure does me.
At our house, summer dinners are rarely elaborate. Picnics, paper plates, and cheese and fruit trays are all common occurrences at our evening meals between June and August. Still, at least once each week, I aim to make a dinner that requires cooking and is served on “real” plates.
This Roasted Red Pepper and Pesto Penne recipe is perfect because it’s delicious and hearty, yet it’s an easy one-dish dinner that only requires 30 minutes in the kitchen!
The ingredients in this dish are very adaptable. Broccoli florets, asparagus tips or frozen artichoke hearts would all be great substitutes for (or additions to) the vegetables listed.
I love the prosciutto for its unique flavor and — despite its “fancy” image — the amount called for here costs only $4 at my local grocery store. But you could omit the meat altogether, or substitute grilled chicken, shrimp or another protein of choice.
I used whole wheat pasta, but gluten-free, ancient grain or good ole’ fashioned white pasta will all work well.
To save time, I typically buy ingredients that are ready to use, like triple-washed baby spinach and pre-sliced mushrooms; but you could easily shave a few bucks off the price by doing some of prep work yourself.
However you adapt it to suit your tastes, you can’t go wrong with an easy and healthy dinner that’s ready in half an hour!
(Loosely adapted 20-Minute Lemon Pesto Penne from Pinch of Yum)
Time Required: 30 minutes Ingredients:
8 oz whole wheat penne pasta (can substitute gluten-free or other pasta)
3 oz thinly sliced Prosciutto, each slice cut into thirds or quarters
3 Tbsp pastured butter, divided
2 cloves garlic, minced
10 oz bag pre-washed and sliced baby bella mushrooms
12 oz jar roasted red peppers in olive oil, drained and sliced into strips
¼ cup basil pesto, homemade or store-bought
Juice of ½ of a large lemon
2 large handfuls (3 oz) baby spinach leaves
½ cup crumbled organic feta cheese, divided
6 large basil leaves, sliced into ribbons Instructions:
Cook pasta according to package directions. While pasta is cooking, in a large skillet, melt 1 Tbsp butter and add prosciutto slices in a single layer around pan. Turn once during cooking to allow both sides to brown, about 10 minutes total. Once browned, remove from heat or transfer to plate until ready to serve. Omit prosciutto for a vegetarian meal. While pasta and prosciutto continue to cook, heat garlic with 2 Tbsp butter and 2 Tbsp water in a large sauté pan for 1-2 minutes. Add mushrooms, cover and allow to steam a few minutes until just tender. Add sliced red peppers, pesto, lemon juice, spinach and half the feta. Stir to combine, then continue heating, uncovered, until spinach is wilted. Drain pasta, add to sauté pan with sauce and vegetable mixture. Add remaining feta cheese and basil ribbons, gently tossing to combine. Serve topped with prosciutto pieces.
Dena Norton is a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) turned stay at home mom. She and her husband, Rick, currently have two precious children, ages 4 and 22 months. In 2013 she wrote an e-book entitled Nutrition By The Book: Where Food and Faith Intersect (preview or purchase here!) and started Back To The Book Nutrition, a web site and blog that inspires others to enjoy and worship God through nutrition and health. Subscribe to Dena’s blog or join her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest!