Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The easiest healthy pasta dinner I know

I know, I know.  I've been a very bad girl about updating.  We had a few outrageously large lunches with friends and then ate little or nothing for dinner, and then we went out for thai.  But I'm back.  Plus, I figure you needed time off after my eggcellent article before you could respect me and my cooking again.  

Tonight is going to be the simplest of simple meals.  This is something I concocted in Italy when I wanted a more substantial pasta meal.  I used to get these little containers of pesto at the Italian supermarket that looked like jello containers.  You'd open them and pure spring heaven would fill the air all around you.  I ate pesto for several weeks straight with whatever meal was at hand.  It went on chicken, beef, fish, pasta, veggies... you name it, I pestoed it.  And I never got tired of it.

Woe, however, to storebought pesto in the states.  I tried the Classico pesto once and nearly died of sadness and repulsion.  Tonight's meal features some pesto made by Central Market, but I intend to make my own as soon as I get that food processor.  I will say that the Central Market batch is excellent.  The green is very vivid, the flavors fresh and well balanced.  Kudos to CM.

I also have decided to get all chummy with other bloggers, and some of them have really great ways to connect us and help us share recipes with a certain focus.  One such focus is Presto Pasta Nights, which you can find at http://www.prestopastanights.com.  This week, Cynthia of The Kitchen Slave (http://thekitchenslave.com) is our gracious host!  Go check out their pasta wisdom and inspiration:-)

Also, a terrific way to lighten this up is by using all zucchini instead of noodles.  I often use a a veggie peeler to make thin strips of zucchini.  These zucchini strips make an excellent elegant crudite or side dish.  

Without further ado....

.25 box whole wheat penne
1 zucchini, sliced
.25 c pesto
.5 c skim ricotta cheese.

1.  Cook pasta according to directions, adding in zucchini for the last minute of cooking time.
2.   Drain pasta and zucchini, reserving a quarter cup of the starch water.
3.  Put the pot back on the heat and toss in the ricotta and pesto.  Warm it up and thin it out with the starch water if needed.  
4.  Add pasta back into pot and stir to coat.
5.  Serve!

This serves two happily, and pesto is the most costly thing.  It also only sports about 235 calories a serving, freeing up some space for that glass of wine.

Ingredient Cost penne 0.25 pesto 2 ricotta 0.4 zucchini 0.39 Grand Total 3.04 for two


  1. This looks so healthy, fresh and delicious! Thanks for submitting to Presto Pasta Nights! =)

  2. Thank you for hosting! This is one of my favorites, and I have two ideas for next week already:-)