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30-Minute Pasta Dinner

Photo by Hüseyin on UnsplashAt my house, easy and quick pasta fagioli and lemon pasta with salmon belong to the “clean plate” club. They’re that good!

Vegetarian Pasta Fagioli

This is one of my most requested recipes. Make the sauce while the pasta cooks!
Prep time: 15 minutes
Yield: Serves 6

1 pound pasta, preferably whole wheat
1/2 cup olive oil
1 generous tablespoon minced garlic (3 nice cloves)
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste (opt)
1 can, 28 oz., diced tomatoes with juice
2-3 teaspoons dried oregano
3 cans beans of your choice, drained: I like cannellini, kidney, chick peas
1 bag, 8-10 oz., fresh greens, like spinach or chard (if using chard, chop coarsely)
Shredded Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions.

While pasta is cooking, heat oil and add garlic and red pepper flakes.

Cook for a minute over low heat.

Add everything but greens and cheese. Bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer and cook about 20 minutes or so, smashing some of the beans with a potato masher for a creamier sauce.

Add fresh greens. Stir until just wilted. Pour sauce over pasta.  Sprinkle with cheese.

Lemon Pasta with Salmon

When you need a healthy, delicious, lighter meal, this fits the bill.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Yield: Serves 4

1/2 pound pasta, preferably whole wheat
2 teaspoons garlic, minced or to taste (2 nice cloves)
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided in half
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 fillets of salmon, 4 oz. each
Handful chopped fresh basil leaves
2-3 tablespoons capers
1 lemon, zested
Juice from zested lemon
Several handfuls fresh spinach
Lemon wedges for garnish

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and transfer to bowl.

Add garlic, 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt, and pepper. Toss to combine.

Season salmon with salt and pepper.

Pour remaining olive oil into skillet and bring to medium high heat.

Add fish to pan and cook until done, several minutes on each side.

Remove salmon from pan.

Add basil, capers, lemon zest, and lemon juice to pasta mixture and toss to combine.

Divide spinach among plates. Spoon pasta on spinach, then place salmon on top. Spinach will wilt slightly. Serve with a wedge of lemon.

Chickpeas were grown in the hanging gardens of ancient Babylon. They were a staple of the Biblical diet along with lentils and other legumes. Wheat was an important crop in Bible days. John 12:24 mentions how a grain of wheat “dies” when planted but comes to life again. Our Lord makes an analogy about “dying” to the world and choosing life in God.

St. Anthony Messenger