Antipasto Pasta

My eating mood goes in phases.  Lately, I’m in a carb mood.  Especially carbs that don’t require me to turn on my oven.  I’m also in the mood for dinners that are quick and easy, since my daughter has recently decided she needs to be held constantly about the time to cook dinner.

This pasta fit those criteria PLUS is what I would order at a restaurant – pesto sauce, tangy veggies, and cheese.  Even better though, because it cost me so much less to just make it at home. I usually order this type of dish because it is full of ingredients my husband isn’t a fan of eating. But even he enjoyed this pasta.

While we enjoyed this warm as a main course, it would also be delicious chilled as a side dish.  Enjoy!

Antipasto Pasta (Serves 4-6 as a main course)


2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1 medium red bell pepper
8 ounces whole wheat rotini pasta (or any short pasta)
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 medium yellow onion, sliced thin
1 cup frozen spinach, thawed
1/3 cup pesto
4 ounces provolone cheese, cubed
1/2 (7 ounce) jar sun-dried tomatoes, drained
1 (14 ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, divided

1. Rub 1 teaspoon of oil around the outside of bell pepper. Broil or grill until outside is charred, turning occasionally. Remove from heat and place in a paper bag for 5 minutes. Remove from bag. Remove skin, seeds, and membranes. Chop remaining pepper and place in a large bowl.

2. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Cook pasta according to package directions.

3. Meanwhile, toast walnuts in a dry skillet over medium-low heat (use a large skillet). When warmed and beginning to be fragrant, remove from heat. Add to bowl with pepper.

4. In same skillet, heat remaining 1 teaspoon oil over medium-high heat. Add sliced onion. Cook for 3-5 minutes, until beginning to brown slightly. Lower heat to medium-low, and cook for 10-15 minutes more, until well caramelized and soft. Add to bowl.

5. Squeeze thawed spinach between paper towels to remove moisture. Cook briefly in skillet to evaporate any remaining moisture, if needed. Add to bowl, along with pesto, provolone, tomatoes, artichoke hearts, and 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese.

6. Drain cooked pasta. Add warm pasta to bowl of ingredients, and toss to combine. Serve with remaining parmesan cheese.

Nutritional Information (Amount per serving with 6 servings)

Calories: 423
Protein: 19 g
Fat: 23 g
Saturated Fat: 6 g
Cholesterol: 23 mg
Carbohydrates: 41 g
Fiber: 8.5 g
Sodium: 520 mg

Recipe Notes: The original recipe included kalamata olives. I think that would be a delicious addition, but I excluded them due to family preferences. You could substitute canned roasted red peppers to skip roasting your own.  Make sure you really get the water out of the frozen spinach. If you wanted to use fresh spinach, you could quickly wilt that in the warm skillet instead. I cheated and used a jarred pesto sauce. Making a homemade sauce would be great, but isn’t necessary. I used deli slices of provolone that I then “cubed”. I really liked this, since it made the pieces small enough to distribute more throughout the pasta.

Source: Adapted from Cooking Light

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