Recipes: Two meals of fresh, tasty pasta in less than 30 minutes

Spicy tomato-based butterfly pasta is light and fresh with chunks of stewed tomatoes. And if you like pasta with cheese and garlic, you’ll love the creamy pasta with bacon, mushrooms and cheese

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Wondering what to cook for a quick, healthy, and easy dinner? Do you sometimes wish you had a personal chef, or better yet, a genie, where you could snap your fingers and conjure up a hot, delicious meal on your table?

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Despite being a food blogger, figuring out what to make for dinner is not something I enjoy doing. In fact, I find it a rather stressful and daunting task.

Fortunately, I have a small directory of recipes that I rotate every four weeks. Having it in my back pocket allows me to have dinner on the table in less than 30 minutes, even on the busiest days.

Here are two of my favorite pasta recipes. The tomato-based pasta is my husband’s favorite; it is a light and fresh dish with pieces of stewed tomatoes. It has some heat from the dried chili flakes and the Italian sausage adds a deliciously robust flavor to the dish. I like to use butterfly pasta for this dish because I think it’s such a pretty shape, but feel free to use short pasta like penne, rigatoni, or cavatappi.

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The creamy pasta with bacon, mushrooms and peas is my favorite. I discovered it one day when all I had to create a meal was a packet of Boursin cheese, pre-cooked bacon, frozen peas and mushrooms. This most unfortunate situation has turned a sad ingredient list into one of my favorite, quick and delicious dinner recipes that often appear on our dinner menu. If you haven’t made pasta sauce with Boursin, you’re in for a treat.


SPICY BOWTIE PASTA WITH ITALIAN SAUSAGE, FLUID SPINACH AND TOMATOES

This two-pot meal can be prepared in less than 30 minutes. Most of the ingredients are staples except for the Italian sausage. Since Italian sausages freeze well, I recommend buying them in bulk and freezing them. Before leaving for work, place a few links on a plate in the refrigerator to thaw them and they will be ready to use at the end of the day.

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Ingredients:

½ lb (220 g) bow tie or short pasta

2 large mild or spicy Italian sausages, casings removed

2 large garlic cloves, crushed

1 can (540 mL) Aylmer Accents Spicy Red Pepper Tomatoes, lightly drained

½ teaspoon chili flakes (optional)

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

½ teaspoon of salt

½ teaspoon of sugar

2 large handfuls of fresh spinach

1 Roma tomato, diced

Freshly grated parmesan cheese

Instructions:

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. When the water boils, add the pasta and cook according to package directions.

While the water is boiling, in a sauté pan, brown the sausage, breaking it up with a wooden spatula. Cook until the sausage is cooked through.

Add crushed garlic and sauté until fragrant.

Add lightly drained tomatoes, chili flakes, Italian seasoning, salt and sugar. Bring the mixture to a boil. Adjust the seasoning accordingly. Reduce the heat and let the sauce simmer while the pasta finishes cooking.

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Drain the pasta.

Add the spinach and drained pasta to the simmering sausage mixture. Mix well to soften the spinach. Immediately extinguish the fire.

Arrange pasta in pasta bowls. Garnish with diced Roma tomatoes, fresh ground pepper and grated Parmesan. Enjoy.

This recipe feeds two very hungry adults but can easily be doubled to feed four to six people instead.


CREAMY PASTA WITH BACON, MUSHROOMS AND PEAS

Here’s another two-pot meal. If you like creamy garlic pasta, you’ll love this dish. What I love most about this recipe is its versatility. Besides the bacon, feel free to change it up by adding chicken, ham or even shrimp. If you’re not a mushroom fan, feel free to omit it. The best part is that the flavor is not compromised.

To maximize your use of time, I suggest making the sauce while you wait for the water to boil and the pasta to cook. Since the sauce will be added to the drained pasta and thickened slightly by simmering it with the pasta, the sauce can be made ahead. If making the sauce before the pasta, use ½ cup chicken broth or milk instead of the pasta water.

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Ingredients:

½ lb (220 g) short pasta such as rigatoni or penne

1/2 cup frozen peas

1 tablespoon (14g) butter

4-5 white or cremini mushrooms, sliced

1 pkg. (5.2 oz/150 g) Boursin garlic and herb cheese

4 to 6 slices pre-cooked bacon, cut into bite-sized pieces

Zest of 1 lemon

Salt and pepper to taste

Freshly grated parmesan cheese

Instructions:

Pasta:

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.

Add the pasta and cook to al dente. Do not overcook the pasta.

Reserve ½ cup of the pasta cooking water before draining the pasta.

Drain the pasta as usual.

While the pasta is draining, add the frozen peas to the pot, then add the hot drained pasta over the frozen peas, allowing the steam from the pasta to thaw the peas. Put aside.

Sauce:

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In a skillet, melt the butter.

Once melted, add the sliced ​​mushrooms and sauté until the mushrooms are brown and any liquid from the mushrooms has evaporated. Transfer sautéed mushrooms to a bowl and set aside.

In the same sauté pan, add ½ cup of the pasta cooking water and the Boursin. Using a whisk, gently crumble the cheese as it melts.

Once the cheese has melted, add the sautéed mushrooms and chopped bacon to the skillet. Let simmer for 2-3 minutes.

Remove from the heat and pour the Boursin cheese mixture over the pasta. Add the lemon zest and mix.

Return the pot of cheesy pasta to the stove and cook for another 1-2 minutes over medium-high heat until the sauce thickens slightly. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve immediately in pasta bowls topped with Parmesan cheese. Enjoy.

Serves two, but recipe can be doubled to serve four.

Karen Gordon is a food blogger from North Vancouver who shares her recipe creations online at karentology.com and on Instagram at @karen.t.ology


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