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Foodie Friday: Primavera season has arrived

Although nothing beats pesto season in our house, primavera season is definitely a close second. And it’s so easy. You don’t really even need a recipe. This is where you get to fling things in a pan and create something amazing. Really. It’s that simple. So look in your fridge, and start building a delicious pasta dinner that’s healthy and sure to please just about everyone. This is your blank cooking canvas, start filling it with color.

Here’s what I did last night:

1 pound pasta, any type. Sometimes we’re in the mood for linguini, sometimes penne, sometimes rotelle. All very different experiences.

2 orange bell peppers, sliced

1 container of organic baby spinach

1 large container of sliced baby bella mushrooms

1 can diced tomatoes, since the real deal is not yet in season

Garlic, lots, thinly sliced

Walnuts pieces, lightly toasted

2 TBSP EVOO

Salt and pepper to taste

Any type of Italian herbs — oregano, basil, a nice mixture. Whatever you prefer. Maybe even some herbs de Provence.

Some reserved pasta water

Grated romano cheese, for serving

Preparation:

Put the pasta water on, with a generous dose of salt. Meanwhile, heat EVOO in large saute pan. Toss in garlic and then, 30 seconds later, mushrooms (and any Italian type seasonings, if using). When the mushrooms have cooked down a bit, add peppers and tomatoes. When pasta water boils, toss pasta into pot. (Well, you don’t have to “toss,” but that makes it more fun.) Add spinach to saute pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

When pasta is al dente, drain and add to veggie mixture. If mixture looks too dry, add a little pasta water to loosen it up. Serve it up, and pass the cheese. We had this last night with a big salad of mixed greens topped with an EVOO and balsamic dressing.

The beauty of this dish is that you can change it up in oh, so many ways, especially as things come into season as we get later into spring and then into summer. Use zucchini instead of peppers, Vidalia onion instead of garlic, escarole instead of spinach, or snap peas, or all of it at once if you really want to go crazy. Substitute toasted pine nuts for the walnuts. Add fresh parsley or fresh basil at the end. Experiment. It’s almost impossible to screw this up. Oh, and mangia!

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