Friday Recipe Exchange: Quick Pasta Meals

tamara pasta quick meals

From our Food Goddess, TaMara:

Nothing beats pasta for a quick dinner. Friend of blog, LFern, often does pasta and olive oil, tossed with fresh vegetables when she needs a quick meal. I always keep a pint of frozen Garden Fresh Pasta Sauce for quick dinners. And if you need gluten-free, there many choices now in gluten-free pastas. I usually go for a nice brown rice pasta or whole wheat pasta, for added flavor to any pasta dish.

I thought for tonight’s recipe exchange it would nice to explore a diversity of flavors in quick pasta meals, moving away from the more traditional tomato or cheese sauces.

Pictured above, JeffreyW does a quick and simple pasta, sauce and cheese. I have my version of that, Hot & Sweet Penne here, which spices things up a bit.

Butternut Squash Pasta (recipe here) is one of my favorite hearty dinners that blends the sweetness of butternut squash with spicy Italian sausage.

Slow-cooker Beef and Pasta Soup, (recipe here) is a nice soup to come home to on a rainy spring evening.

Family favorite, Portuguese Beef and Pasta, recipe here, so simple, with just a few ingredients, but tastes amazing.

For a real taste treat, try this week’s complete dinner menu (and shopping list) Pasta Jambalaya recipe here.

What’s on your menu this weekend? Do you have a favorite, quick and easy pasta recipe? Anyone make their own fresh pasta?
Hit the comments and share.

For tonight’s featured recipe, I went with a flavorful vegetarian pasta dish. The recipe calls for green and red peppers, but you can use any variation. When they’re on sale, I usually buy one of each color for a really pretty dish.

Linguine w/Garlic & Peppers
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp crushed garlic
¼ to ½ tsp red pepper flakes
1 green pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
1 red pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
2 oz fresh basil leaves
14 oz can diced tomatoes*
salt & pepper to taste
4 oz fresh Parmesan cheese, grated
9 oz pkg. fresh linguine (there are some really good gluten-free pastas out there if needed)
saucepan and skillet

In skillet heat oil, add garlic, red pepper flakes, green & red peppers and sauté for 5 minutes on medium heat. Add fresh basil, tomatoes, salt & pepper let simmer while pasta cooks. Cook pasta according to package directions and drain well. Toss with pepper mixture & cheese.

* you can use fresh tomatoes, about 2 large, but I couldn’t find any decent ones this time of year.

60 replies
  1. 1
    raven says:

    I think they call it Pastalaya.

  2. 2
    Keith says:

    My easy pasta meals:
    1) angel hair w/ parsley, lemon, parmesan, pepper, and an egg (can’t remember where I got that)
    2) Pasta w/ parsley, colatura, red pepper flakes
    3) Pasta w/ parsley, evoo, red pepper flakes, bottarga

    I’ve got a deluxe spaghetti/meatball recipe (fresh ground pork, veal, beef, Italian sausage basil, all sautéed in pancetta using DOP San Marzanos) but it’s an all-day chore

  3. 3
    Elmo says:

    Mrs Elmo swears this is her fave food of all time:

    Olive oil
    Toast a panful of pine nuts in the hot olive oil
    Season with a little salt and turmeric
    Add a whole head of chopped garlic
    Now clarify the pan with about a cup of white wine
    Add sliced black olives and sundried tomatoes
    Let simmer for a bit
    Add a LOT of feta to make a sauce
    Stir in cooked pasta
    Add fresh spinach and basil

    Easy easy super easy and my wife loves it.

  4. 4
    Diana says:

    the secret to homemade quick pasta sauces is anchovies. Not vegetarian but oh so effective.

  5. 5
    ruemara says:

    I make a nice bacon puttanesca sauce, but for simple pasta, you can’t get easier than a good wheat penne, about 2 tbspoons of butter, tsp of lemon pepper (I have a homemade variety that I only give to special people), freshly ground black pepper and about a quarter cup of parm or asiago. Mix while the pasta is hot, coat well, serve with a nice salad. Real easy.

  6. 6
    JPL says:

    @Elmo: That sounds great. I wonder if you can use ricotta instead, because I find feta to salty.

  7. 7
    inkadu says:


    Chase with alcohol of your choice.

  8. 8
  9. 9
    inkadu says:

    Does anyone else eat pasta until it’s gone? That’s why I’ve stopped eating it. I always make too much and I eat all of it. I guess I don’t have an excuse with penne, which can be measured, but I usually go with the linuini. Is it too much? Better add more.

  10. 10
    Mnemosyne says:

    Pasta Amatriciana. I usually make it the Weight Watchers way with Canadian bacon instead of regular bacon.


    I weigh my pasta before I cook it. If it’s one of those things where you just can’t control yourself at home, only have it in a restaurant. You’ll still eat too much since they give you, like, 3 servings for dinner, but at least it will only be a once in a while thing.

  11. 11
    Keith says:

    @inkadu: When I was a teenager, I’d make and eat a pound at a time. Now, I only cook what I can put my index finger and thumb around (less than a quarter pound)

  12. 12
    p.a. says:

    @Diana: if you can find it, anchovy paste makes life easier. Comes in tubes like tomato paste.
    Not pasta, but if you have leftovers with any kind of sauce, especially braised meat, polenta is a nice 20 minute prep, and a decent workout if you stir it a continually. Absolutely no need to buy instant or quick polenta, or to go to specialty stores. Quaker Oats yellow cornmeal is fine. Kenyon’s is still stone ground.

  13. 13
    jeffreyw says:

    @efgoldman: Wine is fine. Watch that last step, now,

  14. 14
    Linnaeus says:

    Here’s one of my favorites:

    Cacio e Pepe

    Kosher salt
    6 oz. pasta
    3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cubed
    1 tsp. freshly cracked black pepper
    3/4 cup finely grated Grana Pardano or Parmesan
    1/3 cup finely grated Pecorino

    Bring 3 quarts water to a boil in a 5-qt. pot. Season with salt; add pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until about 2 minutes before tender. Drain, reserving 3/4 cup pasta cooking water.

    Meanwhile, melt 2 Tbsp. butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add pepper and cook, swirling pan, until toasted, about 1 minute.

    Add 1/2 cup reserved pasta water to skillet and bring to a simmer. Add pasta and remaining butter. Reduce heat to low and add Grana Padano, stirring and tossing with tongs until melted. Remove pan from heat; add Pecorino, stirring and tossing until cheese melts, sauce coats the pasta, and pasta is al dente. (Add more pasta water if sauce seems dry.) Transfer pasta to warm bowls and serve.

    You can cheat a little on some of these ingredients.

  15. 15
    MikeJ says:

    I made modernist cuisine’s carrot soup the other day. One of the best things I ever put in my mouth,.

    Caramelize some carrots in butter, 1/8th cup of water, some baking soda. Juice enough carrots to make 2.5 cups of juice. Puree the caramelized carrots, simmer the juice until it starts to separate. Add one to the other, whisk in some more butter and you’re done. Check their website for more precise instructions.

    The recipe calls for a pressure cooker, but since I didn’t have one I used a dutch oven with the lid on and cooked twice as long. Still came out incredibly good.

  16. 16
    MikeJ says:

    @jeffreyw: Are those artichoke hearts in your salad? Mmmmmm.

  17. 17
    Violet says:

    Made fake risotto tonight. I was making chicken bone broth so used that to cook long grain rice. Got the rice almost cooked, then tossed in a warmed bowl, stirred furiously while adding butter and more broth, then stirred in grated parmesan and served up. It didn’t have the creaminess that arborio rice does, but it was much less of a hassle and worked reasonably well. I’ll probably give it a try again. Maybe add some salt next time. If I was feeling adventurous I’d have things to put in the rice, but this was a lazy night after a long week, so it was pretty plain.

  18. 18
    Don K says:


    Too much pasta? Do what my half-Italian husband taught me. Save the leftovers in the fridge mixed with some sauce, then for a quick lunch fry it in some olive oil with a little more sauce added. The tomatoes will give it a really nice crust.

    Fave quick pasta dinner? Spaghetti aglio e olio. Chop up lots of garlic and saute it in olive oil til it’s light golden brown (don’t let it scorch!). Then add cooked spaghetti to the skillet and stir it around til the oil is incorporated into the pasta. If you want some actual, y’know, vitamins, add some broccoli. Top with parmesan. I figure this is the original pasta preparation in Italy, since tomatoes didn’t exist there til sometime in the 1500s.

  19. 19
    ruemara says:

    Anyone really know their css? I’m having trouble with a fixed header and a floating gallery.

  20. 20
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    Speaking of food, the last scene in Big Night is perfect.

  21. 21
    Steeplejack says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Hipster programming to follow it with Soylent Green and Night of the Living Dead.

    ETA: Full disclosure—this coming from a man who went to see Muppets Most Wanted tonight.

  22. 22

    We make a Sicilian pasta with cauliflower, capers, fennel, red wine vinegar, golden raisins, dill, pine nuts and lemon juice.

  23. 23
  24. 24
    Steeplejack says:

    Is traveling even a thing any more in basketball?

  25. 25
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Steeplejack: Local PBS is doing the original House of Cards on Friday nights. Tonight was episode 2. I missed the first half of BN.*

    *God that sounds so Totebaggerish.

  26. 26
    Steeplejack says:

    @Little Boots:

    You should have been here last night.

  27. 27
    Little Boots says:



  28. 28
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Little Boots: I’d really rather not.

  29. 29
    Little Boots says:

    I’m posting this. don’t tell omnes.

  30. 30
    Steeplejack says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    How is that holding up (House of Cards)? I have a vague memory of starting to watch it on Netflix last year and being put off by the murky direct-to-video production values and the self-congratulatory “Look at us—we’re breaking the fourth wall!” thing. I don’t remember it being obnoxious when it was first on, but it has been a long while.

    Note: I haven’t seen the Kevin Spacey version.

  31. 31
    Steeplejack says:

    @Little Boots:

    Music, man, music! All night long.

  32. 32
    Little Boots says:


    english version is best, as usual.

    but damn, the kevin spacey is pretty awesome.

  33. 33
    Little Boots says:


    you first.
    actually, omnes first.

    he does, I admit, have the best taste.

  34. 34
    Mnemosyne says:


    How did you like the Muppets? I’ve heard mixed things from adults, but kids seem to like it fine.

    I liked the one with Jason Segal, but I haven’t heard quite as many good things about the new one.

  35. 35
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Steeplejack: I am enjoying it. Ian Richardson is absolutely fantastic. I don’t see the breaking the fourth wall thing as self congratulatory; I think it invites the viewer in. It makes him/her one of the savvy. It is the same as the seduction of Mattie Storin. By making the viewer a co-conspirator, as it were, it causes the viewer to go along with Urquhart where s/he would normally be appalled. I have not seen the Spacey version either.

  36. 36
    Little Boots says:

    what omnes said.

    as always.

    he does go on.

  37. 37
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Little Boots:

    he does go on.

    FWIW I was one of the few people in 2004 who was an actual enthusiast for Kerry. He may have run a mediocre campaign, but he would have been a good president. He just isn’t good at sound-bytes.

  38. 38
    Little Boots says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:


    now, music. cause. music.

  39. 39
    Mnemosyne says:

    Well, that was a little shaker — La Habra got a set of three earthquakes, and we were able to feel the 5.1-ish here in Glendale.

  40. 40
  41. 41
    Steeplejack says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Yeah, I think I caught it on a night when I wasn’t in the right mood. I liked it when it was first on.

  42. 42
    Little Boots says:


    it was awesome.

    don’t indulge the omnes.

  43. 43
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Little Boots: Take a look at the next thread.

  44. 44
    Steeplejack says:


    I thought it was pretty good, sort of a solid B+. Maybe an A–. No transcendent over-the-top moments, which I seem to remember from previous movies but of course can’t think of one now, but solidly funny with no saggy bits. Lots of in-jokes for the adults. In fact, at some points I was wondering whether the kids had enough to go on.

    Really good supporting performances, especially by Ty Burrell as the Interpol cop. The person that I went with and I both spontaneously agreed that he should be retroactively inserted into the dreadful Pink Panther remakes that Steve Martin did. It would be a cultural service to all concerned. And Danny Trejo and Jemaine Clement (Flight of the Conchords) were very funny as gulag prisoners. Tina Fey was good. One reviewer said she was phoning it in, but I didn’t get that feeling.

    My takeaway was that I need to get around to watching Eagle vs. Shark.

  45. 45
    Mnemosyne says:


    I can’t remember if you were around that night, but I found out a fun fact — when Peter Dinklage played Richard III a few years ago in a not-very-well-received production in New York, the only other person who got good reviews was the guy who played Buckingham: Ty Burrell. This was well before “Modern Family,” so it was kind of funny to stumble across that.

  46. 46
    Steeplejack says:


    I really like Modern Family, but it took me a long time to warm up to Phil Dunphy. I thought he was sort of creepy. I don’t even remember why now, except that it might have had something to do with his leering at Gloria. But I like him now, and I think Burrell gives a very nuanced performance. He is the best at giving those little split-second glances to the camera.

  47. 47
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Mnemosyne: FWIW I side with the Buckingham done in the kids. Richard were framed, he were. And don’t quote Alison Weir at me. She is too damned close to the Tudors for my liking.

  48. 48
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    How did Buckingham get access to them? Why did Richard not denounce and arrest him, especially after Buckingham led a rebellion against him and Richard executed him? That would have been the perfect opportunity to denounce Buckingham and pin the murders on him, but it didn’t happen.

    Sorry, but the fact remains that no one else had the motive, the opportunity, and the access that Richard did.

  49. 49
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Mnemosyne: Richard, his brother’s ultimate loyalist? The good younger brother? What good would denouncing Buckingham have been? Richard’s legal claim would have stemmed from the kids being bastards due to an earlier plight troth by Edward IV. I don’t deny that Richard seized on a flimsy legal excuse to claim the throne, but he was also the person best placed to hold it for his family. In addition, the actual record of his short reign indicates that he was pretty good at the job.

  50. 50
    Steeplejack says:

    @Omnes Omnibus, @Mnemosyne:

    Obligatory Josephine Tey reference. Good novel. A little fusty, but in a good way.

  51. 51
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    What good would denouncing Buckingham have been?

    Huh? Buckingham was Richard’s guy from day one. Buckingham helped Richard seize the throne and executed Richard’s enemies for him. Buckingham read the allegations of a precontract to Parliament on Richard’s behalf (though, as Weir points out, Parliament had no jurisdiction to rule on an ecclesiastical matter like marriage).

    And then, a year after helping Richard take the throne, Buckingham rebelled against Richard. Why did that happen, since Buckingham had supported Richard up until then?

  52. 52
    Mnemosyne says:


    Yeah, about the whole He wasn’t a hunchback thing …

    (“Hunchback” was definitely an exaggeration, but it was pretty fascinating to watch the backpedaling of the Ricardists when his skeleton was discovered and verified to be his.)

  53. 53
    Omnes Omnibus says:


    Why did that happen, since Buckingham had supported Richard up until then?

    Why would killing the kids cause Buckingham to rise against Richard? This is the time frame of the Borgias, Ivan the Terrible, Vlad Tepes, and other lovely people. Buckingham rebelled because he saw a chance to get an advantage. As Steep points out, there is little contemporary evidence against Richard. And why would Elizabeth Wydville have stayed on friendly terms with Richard if she thought he had killed two of her sons. I, myself, don’t have kids but my understanding is that kind of thing is seen as unforgivable.

    Again, I would say that Richard’s claim for the throne was probably legally suspect, but the claim that he killed his nephews in far more suspect. Tudor propaganda has worked well.

  54. 54
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    As Steep points out, there is little contemporary evidence against Richard.

    Actually, there’s quite a bit of contemporary evidence against Richard — as the Wikipedia article Steep linked to pointed out, quite a few resources did not come to light until after The Daughter of Time was published.

    And why would Elizabeth Wydville have stayed on friendly terms with Richard if she thought he had killed two of her sons.

    Richard had already killed Elizabeth’s brother, Lord Rivers, and her son, Sir Richard Grey, when he first took over the throne. Why would two additional killings of her family members be the breaking point? Is the theory that she loved her two younger sons more than the older son?

    Not to mention, I’m not sure that staying in sanctuary in Westminster until 1484 and refusing to come out until Richard swore an oath not to harm her daughters really counts as “being on friendly terms.” She was on far, far friendlier terms with her son-in-law Henry than she was with Richard.

  55. 55
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Mnemosyne: And yet, despite the scoliosis, he was a very effective fighter. From military principles of the time, the fact the he was trusted by Edward IV to commanded wings of his battle formation indicates that Edward (who never lost a battle) trusted Richard to both make good decisions and to fight well.

  56. 56
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    To be clear, I don’t believe the Shakespearean portrait of Richard III, either. All of the contemporary sources about the battle of Bosworth say that Richard fought valiantly and “went down in the thickest press of his enemies,” while Shakespeare has him trying to run away.

    But I find the whole Oh, he couldn’t have killed his nephews! thing to be silly. Richard took the throne over the dead bodies of many people, including one of his own biggest supporters, who was dragged from the room and executed without trial. But he was supposedly too scrupulous to get rid of two children who stood in his way?

  57. 57
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Mnemosyne: It hasn’t been proven to be Richard (famous in his time form being extremely moral – a bit of a prig if one is fair). Nor has it been proven to be Buckingham or Henry VII (a really amoral dude).

  58. 58
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Not proven, no, and never will be. But that’s why I find the Occam’s Razor solution to be compelling in this instance: who had the motive, the opportunity, and the access to the princes all at the same time? You have to ignore a lot of evidence to come up with other suspects, including the contemporary rumors at the time, the contemporary chroniclers, and the bones that were found in almost the exact location where Thomas More said Tyrell had confessed to burying them.

    All a coincidence? Possibly, but how likely is it that all of it just happens to coincidentally point to Richard?

  59. 59
    mclaren says:

    That linguine recipe looks simple but yummy. Noodles with Aflredo sauce & crumbled bacon is always great — add a little crushed garlic to some safflower oil to coat the noodles before basting on the sauce.

  60. 60

    […] Nothing beats pasta for a quick dinner. Friend of blog, LFern, often does pasta and olive oil, tossed with fresh vegetables when she needs a quick meal. I always keep a pint of frozen Garden Fresh Pasta Sauce for quick dinners. And if you need Read full article […]

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