Pasta with Pesto, Mushrooms, and Tomatoes

During busy weeks, I like to make my life easier when it comes to making food.  Don’t get me wrong, I would love to cook something every day, but sometimes I only have 10 or 15 minutes to spare for cooking.  On weeks when I have a crazy schedule, I like to do one of two things; 1) I make a massive amount of one or two dishes in the beginning of the week and reheat for my meals or 2) make a massive amount of plain pasta, rice, or quinoa so that I can take a few minutes to customize each meal.

This week, I went with pasta.  This is mostly because I have finally convinced myself to start running again (I’ve been a lazy bum since surgery back in March), and I am totally using this as an excuse to eat my fill of pasta.  Also because I already made a delicious arugula pesto earlier this week, and what goes better with pesto then pasta?

Now, when I make a pasta dish, I prefer to emphasize the stuffrather than the noodles.  That means I usually like my pasta with extra sauce, cheese, vegetables – whatever it is you’re putting in the pasta, I want more of that than actual noodles.  This is because I usually like the stuff more than the pasta itself, but also because it (usually) helps keep the calories down and the nutrients high.  Basically, I like tricking myself into thinking that I’m being indulgent.

This dish is super easy to throw together especially if you already have a large bowl of cooked pasta in your fridge.  If you’re cooking the pasta at the same time as the recipe, reserve 1/4 cup of the pasta water to add in with the pesto.  This helps the pesto coat the noodles deliciously, but it’s totally an added bonus and completely unnecessary for a delicious meal.  Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go remind myself how out of shape I am…I mean run.  I have to go for a run.

Pasta with Pesto, Mushrooms, and Tomatoes

Serves 2-3

1 package mushrooms (white button or cremini)
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (red wine would also work well here)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 – 3 cups cooked pasta (depending on what pasta/stuff ratio you prefer)
1/4 cup pasta cooking water (optional)
2 heaping tablespoons arugula pesto
Arugula for garnish (optional)

1. Slice the mushrooms.  Heat olive oil in a sauce pan over medium-low to low heat.  Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring often, for several minutes.

2. When the mushrooms begin to release their juices (should take about 3-4 minutes), add in the vinegar.  Allow to simmer until the liquid reduces.  It should take another 4-5 minutes depending on your heat setting.

3. Add in arugula pesto, cherry tomatoes, and if you’re cooking the pasta at the same time as the sauce, the water from the pasta.  Stir until well incorporated and let cook for up to 1 minute, so the tomatoes have enough time to heat through without cooking too much.

4.  Mix in the pasta.  If the pasta was previously cooked and refrigerated, leave the whole mixture on the stove for up to 2 minutes to heat through.  If the pasta was just cooked and still warm, you can immediately turn off the stove.

Serve warm or room temperature, and feel free to top with parmesan if you eat cheese.


2 Responses to Pasta with Pesto, Mushrooms, and Tomatoes

  1. Hahaha I am teh same way I like the “stuff” more so than the noodles!

  2. wow this looks amazing! pasta with pesto and tomatoes is one of my favorites!

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