Spinach Spaghetti with Turkey and Mushrooms

This easily family dinner is inspired by classic Italian-American cuisine. Substituting beef for turkey, and using colorful spinach spaghetti, this pasta is straightforward but oh-so-satisfying.

The dried spices work with the tomato sauce and splash of red wine to permeate the meat with those Italian flavors that take most of us back to childhood. It’s a warm, comforting, familiar meal that’s innovative and a little surprising, too.

It also refrigerates and freezes well–this is a great dish to have on hand for those quick workday lunches or sick days!

1/2 lb. spinach spaghetti
1 1/2 cups ground turkey
1 1/2 cups cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 small red bell pepper, diced
1/2 red onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp olive oil
1 Tbsp butter
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 tsp dried sage
1/2 tsp all spice
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
1 cup red wine
8 oz. tomato sauce, canned
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

1. In a large skillet, heat olive oil and butter with garlic. After a couple of minutes, add onions and cook until translucent. Meanwhile, bring pot of water to boil for pasta.

2. Add turkey, salt, and pepper, and cook, turning frequently, over high heat, until turkey is almost browned through. Add remaining herbs and spices, red wine, red pepper, and mushrooms and stir.

3. Throw pasta into boiling water and stir, adding a dash of salt. Cook for about ten minutes.

4. When pasta is almost done, pour tomato sauce into the skillet with the turkey and stir to mix in thoroughly. Allow to bubble a little; if the mixture begins to boil, lower heat to low or simmer.

5. Drain pasta and set aside to cool.

6. Stir turkey once more and turn off heat. Spoon pasta onto plates and top with turkey mixture. The sauce should be semi-absorbed, not too liquid. Sprinkle grated cheese on top and serve.

Serves 3-4.


Lemon Fusilli with Pan-Seared Tuna

This is another great weeknight recipe for the budget conscious, and a great way to jazz up two of the more boring-seeming non-perishable ingredients in your pantry: canned tuna and pasta. It’s also great to reheat for lunch the next day.

~6 oz canned tuna*
3 tsp olive oil
1 Tbsp butter
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup whole wheat fusilli pasta
1/4 tsp dried hot red pepper flakes
1 Tbsp finely grated fresh lemon zest
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese, to taste
10 black olives, chopped (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

1. Drain tuna. Mix thoroughly with 1/2 teaspoon oil and 1/2 teaspoon garlic, then chill, covered, for 20 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, boil pasta in a large pot until cooked al dente.

3. Heat a skillet until hot, then add the butter and 1/2 teaspoon oil. Add tuna, salt, and pepper, and brown, stirring occasionally.

4. Add remaining olive oil, garlic and pepper flakes, and reduce heat to low, stirring until the garlic is golden. Remove from heat.

5. The pasta should be cooked by now; drain in a colander and return to pot. Toss with tuna and lemon zest, juice, and olives. Add salt or pepper to taste. Serve immediately topped freshly grated cheese.

Serves 1-2, depending on how hungry you are and whether you have a side salad.

*Or you could, you know, use fresh tuna from the market. But for a quick weeknight dish, this can’t be beat!

Zucchini Fettuccine with Roasted Peanut Pesto

This dish is so savory, nutty, and buttery – yet light and fresh. A great bowl of pasta for the summer! And easy!

Note: this is regular semolina fettuccine, with zucchini ribbons, not zucchini pasta, which is here.

1/2 lb. fettuccine
1 zucchini
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp red pepper flakes
~1 cup Roasted Peanut Pesto

1. Bring water for pasta to a boil. Grate zucchini into wide strips and set aside.

2. Put fettuccine into boiling water. Cook 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. In a smaller skillet, heat olive oil and butter. Add zucchini and stir, cooking for about three minutes. Add garlic and red pepper flakes, stir, and cook for a further five minutes. Stir again, lower heat to simmer, and continue to cook slowly.

4. Drain pasta, return to pot, add pesto to taste, and stir thoroughly. Toss in zucchini and serve. Add salt, pepper, and/or cheese to taste. Garnish with extra basil leaves and/or black olives.

Makes 2-4 servings.