Tuna Pasta Salad

  We have reached that point in the summer when I don’t like cooking anything complicated, especially if it will heat up the kitchen at the hottest part of the day. Grilling is always an option, but sometimes you just want something light and cool for supper. Enter this salad! It has a lovely combination of protein and carbohydrates that will leave you satisfied, but not sluggish. It keeps well for about 48 hours in the refrigerator, so if you have a small family, you can have leftovers for lunch the next day with no problem!

This salad is meant to be served at room temperature or a little warm, but it is also very good cold, especially if you add an extra squeeze of lemon.

A note about canned tuna. I try to buy the most sustainable tuna I can afford, and prefer tuna packed in olive oil. Trader Joes has a very affordable Skipjack tuna that is dolphin safe. If you decide to use tuna packed in spring water, you may need a bit more olive oil to keep the salad from getting dry.

Tuna Pasta Salad (makes 4-6 servings)

  • 1 pound pasta
  • 2 cans of tuna, drained
  • 1 head of butter or Romaine lettuce, washed and torn into bite-size pieces
  • 1/2 cup Kalamata olives (optional)
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
  1. In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the pasta to al dente according to package directions.
  2. Drain pasta and toss with the olive oil. Set aside to cool about 5 minutes.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the tuna, lettuce, olives, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
  4. Add the cooled pasta to the bowl. Toss all ingredients together.
  5. Correct seasonings as needed.
  6. Serve immediately at room temperature or refrigerate and serve cold.

Enjoy!

Pasta alla Ceccha

Pasta alla Ceccha

  Some summer days just beg for easy cooking, and this past week was full of them! Sometimes serendipity intervenes and provides you with what you need. At a race I ran last week, one of the vendors was giving away yellow tomatoes. Tomatoes!!! So we came home loaded down with little packages of delicious tomatoes, just in time to make a dish that is summer simplicity at its best. 

Italian cooking makes the best use of simple, ripe, seasonal foods and this dish  is one of my favorite ways to get our pre-run carbs without turning the kitchen into a sauna. The sauce is a raw tomato sauce that is flavorful and satisfying without being heavy. Tossed with hot pasta, it fills your kitchen with the amazing aroma of basil and garlic. Try this with your best, ripe summer tomatoes! This recipe is based on one from Giada deLaurentis and is a favorite summer staple.

Pasta alla Ceccha (serves 4)

  • 1 lb pasta
  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes or the equivalent in ripe, regular tomatoes
  • 3 green oinions, white parts and a little of the green
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 ounce parmesan cheese
  • A generous handful of fresh basil leaves
  • Salt and ground pepper to taste
  • 6 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into 1″ pieces
  1. Cook pasta according to package directions to al dente.
  2. In a food processor, combine all remaining ingredients except mozzarella. 
  3. Pulse until all is combined but still chunky. Don’t puree ( although if you do, it’s not the end of the world).
  4. Toss the sauce with the hot cooked pasta.
  5. Add the fresh mozzarella and serve immediately.

See? Easy peasy! Enjoy!

Pasta con Sarde

Sardines

I am still perplexed as to why Eat Italian Food Day is not Eat Italian Food Month. We are not, however, beholden to whoever makes those decisions. So in open rebellion of the “food of the day” policy makers, here is another recipe that we will be making this weekend. It takes advantage of Italy’s coastal waters as well as its love of the tomato. I am planning to buy fresh pasta at the farmer’s market tomorrow and I’m excited about that, but when left to my own devices, I like whole wheat angel hair pasta for this dish. Pasta con sarde is high in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids and relatively low in fat. Basically, this is a fast, healthy and very inexpensive dish that is perfect for weeknights when you really don’t feel like cooking.

What? You don’t like sardines? My suggestion would be to have an open mind and try sardines that are packaged boneless and skinless as they have a milder taste to them. Trader Joes carries these for about $2 a can. And indeed, this dish would be better with fresh sardines rather than canned, but until global warming really kicks in, I don’t know that sardines will be swimming off the shores of North Carolina. If you are (like my child) absolutely resolute in your dislike of sardines, you could use cooked salmon or tuna and you would need very little (6 oz), just increase the amount of olive oil you use or the sauce will be dry. This is a great dish for stretching out what you have. And who doesn’t want to do that these days?

  • 1 package whole wheat angel hair pasta (16 oz.)
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 (4 oz) cans sardines packed in olive oil
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs (about 3-5 slices bread toasted and run through food processor)
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 lemon, juiced + 1 Tbsp. grated zest
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add pasta and cook according to directions for al dente pasta.
  2. While pasta is cooking, heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook about 2 minutes until soft. Add the minced garlic and cook about 1 minute more.
  3. Stir in sardines with their olive oil and tomato sauce and stir to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. When sardines are heated through, add bread crumbs and stir. Remove from heat.
  5. Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water for the sauce.
  6. Add drained pasta to the sauce in the skillet and combine. If the sauce is too dry, add pasta water 1/2 cup at a time until you get the consistency you like. The sauce should cling to the pasta.
  7. Add lemon juice and lemon zest to the pasta, stir and serve with parmesan cheese.

Buon appetito!

Spaghetti with Toasted Breadcrumbs

20140124-075433.jpgI’m pretty sure it’s because of the cold weather, but this week my body has been screaming for carbs. I usually just tell myself to calm down and go have a banana or something, but my inner carb hound would not be denied. Do you have those days? Yeah, me, too. So I decided to just throw that carb hound a treat and get it over with. This dish is a classic Italian recipe born of poverty, great olive oil and even better bread. Served with a green salad, you’ll still be able to get your vegetables in while enjoying a meal so delicious and simple, you won’t believe it only has two main ingredients.

This is my version of the recipe and from checking around the internet, there are about 100 different combinations for this dish. I’ve seen variations that include chopped olives, sardines, and tomatoes, so you can pretty much make this what you want.

A note about breadcrumbs: I made my own using some whole grain bread I had on-hand. I toasted it in the toaster, let it cool and then processed it in my little food chopper. I like how the food chopper leaves some larger crumbs in there (yum!). You could use ciabatta or any kind of bread you have on hand, but if you can, try to make the breadcrumbs yourself. If you’re in a pinch, however, prepared breadcrumbs will do just fine.

Spaghetti with Toasted Breadcrumbs (serves 4 light eaters or 2 hungry runners)

  • 8 ounces angel hair pasta
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 onion, peeled and chopped fine
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups homemade breadcrumbs
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan Reggiano cheese
  1. In a large stock pot, boil heavily salted water to cook the pasta.
  2. When the water is just barely starting to boil, heat the olive oil over medium low in a 10″ saute pan or skillet.
  3. Add the red pepper flakes to the oil and gently heat for about 5 minutes.
  4. Increase the heat to medium, add the onion, and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Do not let onion burn–if needed, turn the heat down a bit.
  5. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  6. Add the angel hair pasta to the boiling water and cook for 3 minutes.
  7. While the pasta is cooking, add the breadcrumbs to the olive oil mixture and increase the heat to medium high.
  8. Toast the breadcrumbs (they will absorb all the oil in the pan) and stir frequently to keep them from scorching. This is a very important step–you want your breadcrumbs crunchy! Cook for about 3 minutes.
  9. Drain the pasta, reserving one cup of the pasta liquid. Add the pasta and half the toasted breadcrumbs to the stock pot and toss well. Add pasta water as needed to keep the pasta from being too dry (I used about 1/2 cup).
  10. Plate your pasta and top with the remaining breadcrumbs and cheese.
  11. Feel your inner carb hound’s tail a wagging!

Pumpkin Pasta

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Pumpkin is everywhere right now. In coffee, on bagels, baked in cookies, whipped into mousse, roasted, stewed and frozen. Try to avoid it. I dare you. Rather than run away from the squash invasion, I’ve embraced pumpkin and its similar fall vegetables butternut squash and acorn squash.

This pasta is coated with a thick, savory sauce that has the texture of a creamy pasta sauce without all the fat. Perfect for a chilly, fall night when you crave something as rich as mac and cheese, but still need to lace up your running shoes and move forward. This recipe is based on one for Creamy Pumpkin Pasta by A Bird and a Bean, but it reduces the fat content, ups the pumpkin and reduces the amount of meat without sacrificing flavor. Think of this as a foodie version of a cozy fleece jacket–warm, comforting and satisfying. We used a wonderful, smoked, lean Canadian bacon from Mae Farm, and this added a tremendous amount of flavor with very little meat (saving fat and $$$). If you don’t have Swiss chard, you can easily replace it with chopped, fresh spinach or another mild green.

Embrace pumpkins and fall greens this fall!

Pumpkin Pasta (makes 4 servings)

  • 3-4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1 small, sweet onion, peeled and chopped fine
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4-6 ounces smoked Canadian bacon, chopped
  • 1 can organic pumpkin puree
  • 2 cups homemade chicken broth (or 1 can)
  • 1/4 cup plain almond milk
  • 1/2 cup low-fat sour cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground, black pepper
  • 4-6 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
  • 4 cups chopped Swiss chard
  • 1/2 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
  • 1/2 lb. ceccerece pasta (or similar shaped pasta like macaroni)
  1. Heat water for pasta in a large stock pot.
  2. While water is heating, warm the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onion and cook 2 minutes or until onion softens. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute.
  3. Add the chopped Canadian bacon and cook until warmed through–about 2 minutes.
  4. Remove vegetables and meat from the pan.
  5. Add the stock and whisk to deglaze the pan, bringing up all the brown bits (they have lots of flavor).
  6. Whisk in the almond milk, pumpkin, sour cream, nutmeg, pepper and sage, and whisk well.
  7. Add the onion mixture back to the sauce and the chard, and keep warm over low heat.
  8. Cook the pasta according to directions and drain, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water.
  9. Add the cooked pasta and cheese to the sauce, tossing to coat the pasta well with sauce. If the sauce is too thick, add a bit of the pasta water to thin. Pasta sauce should coat and stick to the pasta.
  10. Serve immediately.

Pesto Pasta e Fagioli e Patatina

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One of the most memorable meals I have ever had was in Corniglia, Italy, while Tom and I were hiking the Cinque Terre (if you haven’t done this, consider putting it on your bucket list). We had a simple lunch at a small restaurant operated by a woman in her 70s. She made everything herself and grew the vegetables in her garden. There was no menu, just a few daily specials that took advantage of what was in season.

A huge part of what made the experience so wonderful is that we ate on a patio outside looking out at the Mediterranean Sea. Far from the Olive Garden, billion calorie, sauce-laden pastas in America, the pasta we had was typical of the region–homemade pasta tossed with a light basil pesto and bits of potato and green beans. Delicious, satisfying and fresh. After hiking an hour and climbing almost 400 stairs to get to Corniglia, we were famished and ready to tuck in. When we finished our wonderful meal, we continued on our hike with renewed physical and emotional energy.

This recipe calls for all that is wonderful about summer–fresh potatoes, green beans, basil and (I veered from the traditional recipe) sun dried tomatoes. Yum!

Pesto Pasta e Fagioli e Patatina

  • 1 lb. fresh or dried capallini or fettucine pasta
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 c. basil pesto (see below)
  • 6-8 small red potatoes
  • 1 c. green beans, topped and tailed and cut in 1/2
  • 1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes packed in oil, chopped
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  1. Put a stock pot of water on the stove to boil.
  2. While water is heating, wash your potatoes and cut them into bite size pieces.
  3. When water comes to a boil, add salt and the potatoes. Boil potatoes for about 10 minutes.
  4. Add the green beans and pasta to the pot and continue to boil everything for 8-9 minutes.
  5. Reserve 1 c. of the pasta water and drain the pasta and vegetables.
  6. Pour the pasta and vegetable mixture into a large bowl. Add the pesto, parmesan cheese and sun dried tomato. Toss to combine, adding pasta water if needed to thicken the sauce.

Basil Pesto

  • 3 c. fresh basil
  • 1 c. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 c. pine nuts
  • 2/3 c. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 Tsp. lemon juice
  1. Put basil and about 2 Tbsp. olive oil in a blender or food processor. Blend into a paste.
  2. Add pine nuts, cheese, garlic and remaining oil. Blend until smooth.

Basil pesto should be made fresh and used the same day. Or, you can freeze pesto (this works very well if you buy a plastic ice cube tray and freeze the pesto in the trays–just pop out a cube and use in a sauce!).

Skinny Chicken Taco Casserole

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This casserole is a wonderful combination of a beefy casserole I saw on Pinterest by Skinny Mom (www.skinnymom.com) and a crock pot chicken taco filling I’ve seen so many times on Pinterest that I have no idea who to cite as the creator. I thought both looked good, so I combined them into a delicious taco pasta casserole that stretches one pack of chicken over several meals and made good use of the corn, sweet peppers, hot peppers, tomatoes, onion and garlic from our local farmers. Even the goat cheese (Hillsborough Cheese Company) and hoop cheese were locally produced!

The next time, I might add some chipotle peppers in adobo sauce to make it even more spicy, but if you have little ones or sensitive taste buds, this should not be too spicy. You could certainly substitute whatever fresh vegetables you have handy! Enjoy!

Chicken Taco Casserole (makes 10-12 servings)

  • 1 lb. organic, boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 6 ounces homemade tomato salsa
  • 2 packets taco seasoning
  • 1 lb. whole wheat penne pasta
  • 2 medium, sweet organic onions, peeled and chopped
  • 2 cloves organic garlic, peeled and minced
  • 3 sweet bell peppers, washed and chopped
  • 2 jalapeños, seeded and chopped
  • 1 pint organic cherry tomatoes, washed and stemmed
  • Fresh organic corn from 3 ears
  • 8 ounces jalapeño goat cheese
  • 3 cups grated hoop cheese or Mexican style blend
  1. In the bowl of a slow cooker, add chicken breasts, salsa and one packet of taco seasoning. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours or on high for 4 hours. Use 2 forks to pull chicken apart. Alternately, you can bake the chicken, salsa and spices for one hour, covered, at 350 degrees.
  2. While chicken is cooking, sauté onion, garlic, and peppers until soft, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the jalapeños, tomatoes corn and remaining taco seasoning and cook for an additional 10 minutes. Set aside.
  4. In a large stock pot, bring water to boil for pasta. Cook pasta according to directions and drain.
  5. Add pasta, pulled chicken and vegetable mix to the stock pot and combine well. Add goat cheese and 2 cups of hoop cheese, and stir until cheese is melted and creamy.
  6. Pour pasta mix into an 11 x 13 casserole dish. Top with remaining cup of cheese.
  7. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

Aubergine and Lavender Pasta

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Lavender. In pasta. You heard me! This pasta features some fresh, local vegetables and a locally produced pasta sauce with lavender. Game on, fellow foodies.

I recently had the pleasure of meeting Neal “Nello” McTighe, owner of Raleigh-based Nello’s Sauce (a post about Nello’s is coming up later this week!). You know, we don’t purchase much in the way of processed or prepared foods, but I was very interested in talking to the folks at Nello’s about starting a small, local business. And, I like food, right?

During a recent blogy interview, Neal introduced me to Nello’s newest creation, their Provencal Pomodoro Sauce. Yes, Provencal–as in Provence, France–home of lovely fields of lavender! The amazing ingredient in this particular sauce is organic lavender. Now, I’ve had lavender in pound cake and cookies and in Herbes de Provence, but it never occurred to me to use it in a tomato sauce. Nope. Not even once. Shame on me, right?

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Since we have loads and loads of fresh, ripe eggplant at our farmer’s markets right now, I decided to take this sauce out for a spin with a roasted eggplant, chicken and artichoke heart pasta, created on the fly using what I found at the market. I used some locally produced fresh mozzarella, which melted oh so deliciously into the sauce. This recipe is a keeper, for sure. It was definitely on the hearty end of the food spectrum, although it is very modest in calories and super low in fat. You could easily skip the chicken, increase the eggplant and Voila! Meatless Monday!

I should disclose that the sauce was given to me, although without expectation that I would blog about it. Although it was a gift, I would not blog about it if it weren’t exceptional–I have too many pieces to write as it is, so I’m not going to write about something that isn’t good. Ain’t no blogger got time for that.

A note about the sauce. If you have picky eaters and are worried about lavender in the pasta sauce, here is my suggestion–don’t tell them.The lavender in the sauce adds a lovely, floral flavor that doesn’t overwhelm you (you won’t feel like you are eating potpourri), and your family probably won’t be able to place the wonderful flavor. It is really a winning combination!

Nello’s Sauce is available at central NC Whole Foods stores or HERE. Neal is running a contest this week for recipes using his sauce–you can find information on the Nello’s website HERE.

Aubergine and Lavender Pasta (makes 6-8 servings)

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (raw) cut into small cubes (about 1/2″)
  • 2 tablespoons Herbes de Provence
  • 3 smallish aubergine eggplants, peeled and cubed
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 sweet onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 10-12 frozen artichoke hearts, defrosted (do not use marinaded artichoke hearts)
  • 1 jar Nello’s Provencal Pomodoro Sauce
  • 4-6 fresh basil leaves
  • 10 ounces thin spaghetti noodles
  • Fresh mozzarella cheese, to taste
  • Grated parmesan cheese, to taste
  • Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Put a stock pot of water on to boil for the pasta.
  3. Line two rimmed baking sheets with foil.
  4. In a medium bowl, combine the cubed, raw chicken with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, pinch of salt, pepper and the Herbes de Provence. Toss well and add to one rimmed baking sheet. Put in the oven and roast for 35-40 minutes.
  5. In another bowl, combine cubed eggplant and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, and toss well to coat the eggplant. Add to the second baking sheet and roast eggplant for 30 minutes or until soft (I added the second baking sheet about 10 minutes after the chicken, so they finished at the same time).
  6. In a 12″ skillet, heat the remaining olive oil over medium heat and saute the onions until they are soft and begin to caramelize, about 8 minutes. Don’t let them burn. Add the garlic and artichoke hearts and cook another 2-3 minutes. Add the pasta sauce and reduce heat to medium low.
  7. Put the pasta in the boiling, salted pasta water and cook according to directions.
  8. While pasta is cooking, add the cooked chicken and eggplant to the sauce. Stir well. Cut up the basil leaves and add to the sauce.
  9. Drain the pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta water to thicken the sauce, if necessary.
  10. Add the drained, cooked pasta to the skillet with the sauce. Turn the heat off, and use tongs to combine the pasta and sauce.
  11. Serve the hot pasta with chunks of fresh mozzarella and Parmesan cheese, if you like (and I do!).
  12. Serve immediately.

Pasta with Asparagus and Prosciutto

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Some foods are wonderful BFFs. Asparagus and prosciutto, for example (really, asparagus and any ham product). I was going to make another salad for dinner, but we had salad for lunch and–I have to be honest–I hit the salad wall. I was craving something a bit more substantial, but I didn’t have a lot of non-salad ingredients on hand. And it was getting late. Tick, tock, time to eat. What I did have was prosciutto and fresh asparagus from our Parisian salad. Hmmmmm. Paired with some whole wheat pasta, it was a delicious, simple and quick dinner. Now I’ll be ready for more salad tomorrow! This recipe makes three servings, but you can adjust ingredients easily to feed more or fewer people.

Pasta with Asparagus and Prosciutto (serves 3)

  • 4 oz. whole wheat pasta (about 1/2 package)
  • 3-4 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter from grass-fed cows
  • 1 shallot
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 pound asparagus, trimmed
  • 5-6 slices prosciutto, torn into bite size pieces
  • Grated Parmesan cheese
  1. In a stock pot, boil water for pasta.
  2. While waiting for water to boil, peel and thinly slice shallot. Peel and mince garlic. Set aside.
  3. Chop asparagus into bite-sized pieces. Set aside.
  4. Heat butter and olive oil in a sauté pan.
  5. Add salt to boiling water and add pasta to the water. Reduce heat and cook pasta according to directions on package.
  6. Add shallot and garlic to sauté pan. Cook over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add asparagus and cook for another 5 minutes.
  7. Add prosciutto to the pan, stir and turn off heat.
  8. Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water.
  9. Add the drained pasta to the sauté pan. Use tongs to toss and combine all ingredients. Add pasta water as needed to make a light sauce.
  10. Serve immediately with grated Parmesan cheese.

Roasted Vegetable Pasta

Vegetables

This is from our former blog Year of Healthier Living. I’ve been thinking about this dish and can’t wait to make it again!

Did you know that there is an Italian Food Day? I have no idea why this isn’t an entire month–I know I could do it. In spite of the Americanized version of Italian food, which tends to be very heavy on the cheese and meat, most Italian food in Italy is locally-based, impossibly fresh and creatively resourceful. I know this because I once tried to eat my way across Tuscany (I am an expert–don’t try this at home).

This is one of my favorite vegetarian pasta dishes. It is delicious, healthy and easy to make. Plus it uses up a lot of random vegetables that may be living in the refrigerator. This recipe is actually based on a dish made by The Cake Boss (go figure!) and its simple beauty comes from using whatever fresh, seasonal vegetables are available. Roasting the vegetables brings out their natural flavor and sweetness without any additives other than olive oil and salt. That is truly Italian cooking!

You can vary this dish throughout the seasons by using what is ripe and delicious at the time. You can also vary the

pasta you use. I like orecchiete (little ears) pasta because it holds the sauce well. As a mom, I think this is one of those healthy, versatile recipes that could be a regular (and by changing it up, maybe no one will notice I am basically recycling the same dish). Score!

  • 1 lb. fresh pasta (we used orecchiete pasta)
  • 1 organic onion
  • 2 organic tomatoes
  • 2 c. organic broccoli florets
  • 3 organic carrots, peeled and cut into 2-3″ planks
  • 2 c. cubed organic butternut squash
  • 2 handfuls of kale (from our garden!) or other greens–arugula is good, too!
  • About 1 cup fresh ricotta cheese (we used Hillsborough Cheese Co. garlic and chive ricotta)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Pignolis (pine nuts), parmesan cheese (optional)
  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Lightly oil a baking sheet.
  2. Put a stock pot of salted water on the stove to boil.
  3. Cut all vegetables except kale into bite sized chunks and toss with olive oil and a little kosher salt and pepper.
  4. Chop kale into little bite sized pieces and reserve.
  5. Put all vegetables except kale in a single layer on the baking sheet and bake about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep from sticking. Add kale to pan during last 5 minutes.
  6. While vegetables roast, add pasta to the boiling water and cook to al dente. When pasta is done, reserve 1 c. pasta water for sauce and drain pasta.
  7. In a large bowl, add cooked pasta, roasted vegetables, kale, ricotta and pasta water and mix together. The cheese should melt and make a light sauce. The pasta water is essential and will thicken the sauce and help it stick to the pasta.
  8. Serve with pignolis (pine nuts), parmesan or whatever makes you happy!

Buon appetito!

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