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Charlie's Pasta Primavera

There are lots of combinations of vegetables that work with pasta. This is delicious without the usual butter or cream.

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 cup seeded, chopped bell peppers of any color

1 cup chopped onions

1 teaspoon chopped garlic

2 cups diced zucchini

1 pound thin asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch lengths

2 cups cored, chopped fresh tomatoes

2 tablespoons fresh oregano

1 teaspoon salt

Dash freshly ground black pepper

8 ounces dry, whole-wheat penne

4 cups baby spinach

4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese


1. Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the bell peppers, onions, and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes.

2. Add the zucchini, asparagus, tomatoes, oregano, salt, and pepper. Stir well. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, uncovered, for 10 to15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Keep the sauce warm over low heat.

3. Cook the penne as directed on the package. Reserve ½ cup of the cooking water and drain the pasta.

4. Add the penne and the spinach to the sauce and stir thoroughly. Let the mixture sit over low heat for about 1 minute.

5. Stir in about ¼ cup of the reserved cooking water. Add more of the water if the mixture looks dry.

6. Divide the pasta among 4 dinner plates or shallow bowls and sprinkle with the Parmesan.

Yield: 4 servings.

Nutritional Information Per Serving. Calories: 345. Energy Density: 0.80.

Carbohydrate: 59 g. Fat: 7 g. Protein: 15 g. Fiber: 10 g.

Cook's Note: Any medium sized whole-wheat pasta can be substituted for the penne such as zitti, rotelle, or farfalle. Fresh green beans cut into 1-inch lengths can be substituted for the asparagus.

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Barbara Rolls