Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with … Pasta!

Call me strange, but I loved corned beef and cabbage when I was a kid growing up. Maybe it was because of my German/Polish ancestry, or because we grew up in the middle of Amish country surrounded by Pennsylvania Dutch cooking. Not every kid is going to run to the table for a dinner of corned beef and cabbage, so how about celebrating with a festive, colorful meal that everyone in your family will love. How about with … PASTA!

We’re talking healthy, tasty, bright green veggies or a yummy pesto that will have your entire family dancing an Irish jig for St. Patrick’s Day!

The National Pasta Association has several healthy and easy, festive pasta recipes that will keep the family satisfied, including a hearty Lasagna Verde, a fresh veggie filled Fusilli with Lemon-Arugula Pesto and a flavorful Tortellini Caesar Salad. We are sharing these three delicious recipes with our readers today!

lasagna verdeLasagna Verde

Ingredients:

  • 4 oz. lasagna noodles (about 8 sheets or enough for 2 layers)
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 2 lbs. spinach, well-washed
  • 32 oz. part-skim ricotta
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp./½ oz. garlic, grated or finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest (from about 1 lemon)
  • ¼ tsp. grated nutmeg
  • 2 cups/10 oz. frozen peas
  • 2 cups/8 oz. asparagus, cut in ½” pieces
  • ½ cup/2 oz. grated Parmigiano
  • 8 oz. mozzarella, grated, divided

Directions:

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the lasagna noodles according to package directions. Drain, toss with olive oil, and reserve.
  2. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Place the spinach in a large pan over medium heat. If spinach is still wet, simply cover pan and wilt. If it’s dry, add ¼ cup water to the pan, cover, and wilt. Drain spinach. When cool enough to handle, roughly chop it and squeeze out excess liquid.
  3. Place spinach in a large bowl with the ricotta, eggs, garlic, zest, nutmeg, peas, asparagus, Parmigiano and half of the mozzarella. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Place half the noodles along the bottom of a 9” x 13” pan. Top with half of the ricotta mixture. Repeat with remaining noodles and ricotta mixture.
  5. Strew remaining mozzarella over the top. Place in the oven and cook until heated through (about 30 minutes).

Spinach and Basil Pesto Pasta Salad

Fusilli with Lemon-Arugula Pesto

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups/12 oz. cauliflower florets
  • 2 tsp. vegetable oil
  • 4 oz. fusilli*
  • 2 cups/2 oz. arugula
  • 1 Tbsp./½ oz. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest
  • 3 cloves/¼ oz. garlic
  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup/5 oz. frozen peas, thawed
  • 4 tsp. grated Parmigiano Reggiano

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400ºF. Place the cauliflower on a baking tray, toss to coat with the oil. Season with salt and pepper. Roast until softened and golden, turning half way through cooking (about 30 minutes in total).
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the fusilli according to package directions. Drain and reserve.
  3. To make the pesto, place the arugula, lemon juice and zest, garlic and olive oil in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse and scrape down sides as needed to puree. Add a tablespoon of warm water, or more, to help bring it together, if needed. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Toss the fusilli with the cauliflower, arugula pesto and peas. Taste and season with salt and pepper if needed. Divide between four bowls and sprinkle with grated Parmigiano.

Tortellini Caesar Salad

Tortellini Caesar Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag of frozen Tortellini (flavor of your choice)
  • 1 small head romaine lettuce, chopped
  • ½ cup grape or cherry tomatoes (optional)
  • ½ cup chopped cucumber (optional)
  • ½ cup croutons
  • 3 tbl. grated Parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup Caesar dressing

Directions:

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the tortellini according to package directions. Drain and reserve.
  2. Once cooled, combine lettuce, cooked tortellini, and optional vegetables. If not eating right away, reserve.
  3. Pour on dressing and sprinkle with cheese and croutons (to taste) and serve.

So now that you’ve had a chance to look over all three of these delicious recipes, which one is going to be on your menu tonight?

 

 

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