Sunday, April 1, 2012

Rustic Pasta with Chunky Vegetables

We like to call this dish “rustic pasta”.  Why do we call it that?  I have no clue.  We even served it here in a white square bowl, which is probably the opposite of rustic.  Nonetheless, something about this meal brimming with big chunky vegetables and whole wheat pasta says rustic to us.  We coated the vegetable chunks and penne pasta in a tomato sauce brightened up with hints of saffron, ginger, and garlic and then gave it a creamy twist with mascarpone cheese. 

1 medium zucchini, cut into chunks
2 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
1 small red onion, cut into 1/8th
8 ounces cremini mushrooms, halved
12 ounces asparagus spears, ends trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon fresh minced thyme
1 tablespoon fresh minced rosemary
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 shallots, minced
3 tablespoons minced ginger
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 28-ounce cans crushed tomatoes
¼ teaspoon saffron threads
3 tablespoons mascarpone cheese
12 ounce box whole wheat penne

Heat oven to 400.  Place vegetables pieces in large bowl.  In a small bowl, whisk olive oil, herbs, salt, pepper, vinegar, and lemon juice.  Pour the liquid mixture over the vegetables and coat using tongs.  Place on baking sheet and set in the oven for about 30-40 minutes, until the vegetables have cooked through.  Set aside

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Add shallots and ginger and sauté until the shallots are soft (about 3 minutes).  Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to boil and cook pasta according to package directions.  Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Stir in the tomatoes and saffron threads.  Simmer for 20 minutes, until the flavors come together.  Stir in mascarpone cheese.  Add all the vegetables, herbs, and liquid left on the baking sheet to the sauce and heat.  Adjust salt and pepper to taste. Toss the cooked pasta with the sauce.


  1. Replies
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  2. Sometimes I'll put the word rustic in a recipe title because the food in question makes me think of something I'd enjoy somewhere on a balcony in the Mediterranean or the French countryside. Saffron-infused pasta with chunks of vegetables definitely fall into the former.
    I'm starving for a bowl of this pasta!:D

  3. Wow, this looks awesome. I love all of the ingredients you put in this dish.

  4. This should go under the definition of comfort food, something you want to eat curled up on the sofa and I love the addition of saffron just makes it somehow fancy :)

  5. So much more than rustic! I love the layers of flavor you have going on there.

  6. Chunky vegetable pasta is an all time favorite at my house...regardless of what you call it :)

  7. This recipe looks amazing. I absolutely love the twist with the saffron - very inspired! I think, despite the bowl, that it is very rustic. Fabulous.

  8. Rustic or not, this sounds super tasty to me! I love the way you spruced up the tomato sauce!

  9. You have so many wonderful flavors going on in here! I love rustic food - especially when pasta is involved!

  10. I would so enjoy having this! Goodness all around. In my latest post, I've given you some awards!! Check them out -

    1. thank you soooo much Lyn, we are truly honored!

  11. Mmm I love pasta like this that is chock full of yummy veggies. Looks awesome.

  12. Lovely and packed with so much flavor and deliciousness!I love the addition of all these veggies and herbs, and the use of ginger is something I'm going to try since I've never used ginger in my pasta!Cannot wait to try :)

  13. I like this because it is heavy on the veggies and light on the pasta, which makes it quite healthy! The sauce with the touch of marscapone must taste amazing. Great dish-yum!

  14. This dish is more than a rustic pasta. With the addition of saffron, this pasta dish is an exquisite one too!

  15. I love pasta with chunky veggies but I'm the only one in the family who does. I always make some and add them to my plate. I'm going to try this. The mascarpone is a treat.

  16. What a delicious Pasta! Love the combo of saffron, ginger, and garlic.

  17. This looks amazing! I'll definitely be trying this...such a good combo of spices. Sausage or meatballs would be amazing in here as well. Mmm! Can't wait to try this out.

  18. I think it doesn't matter how it is called. What it really matters is how amazingly tasty it looks! The colors are blasting!

  19. I wish I had this for lunch right now!

  20. Love the chunky veggies!! I could eat pasta all day every day and never get sick of it :) Your sauce sounds absolutely delicious!

  21. Just the colors themselves make this dish look so pretty. And healthy, too.

  22. yum! this definitely looks like my kind of pasta dish!

  23. this looks wonderful and great picture

  24. Oh, my! This looks delicious. I'd love this. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  25. It totally looks rustic to me, I get what you guys are saying lol. I wonder if I could trick myself into eating veggies this way...hmmmm :P

  26. I am a true pasta fan and I can tell you that this looks really delicious. Vegetables, lots of spices and pasta, perfect!

  27. What a wonderful pasta dish - so colorful!


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