Main dish / Pasta / Quick meals

Better pasta in minutes

My office was closed for a summer break last week (yippee!) and rather than relax, I managed to fill every minute of my open mornings. I had at least a dozen projects I wanted to do, but topping the list was my girls’ room. At ages 9 and 7, they were ready to get rid of the baskets of baby dolls (yes, there were more than one) and bring in the bean bags for a reading corner.

We spent a full day painting the room gray. So gray, in fact, that now when we send them upstairs for a time out, the color really looks like jail. (Not sure how many times I’ll make the same mistake of trusting the color on the swatch!)

Good thing we were planning a tree mural in the reading corner. Not bad, huh?

We also spray painted over a dumpy bookcase, that needed some new life.

But the best part of the room turned out to be the girls’ headboards. I picked up an 8-ft. wide picket fence at Home Depot for $23 and cut it in half. The kids sanded the wood and then we spray painted it green too. I had planned to use the fencing for bookshelves, but that proved too complicated. Perfect for headboards, though, thanks to the suggestion of a friend.(If my daughter weren’t actually sleeping in the bed while I took this photo, you might be able to see the headboard!)

And as for dinner this week? Only quick meals would do. This pasta dinner was a winner.

The pine nuts are the best part, unless you devour them before you serve the dish.

ITALIAN GARDEN PASTA
1 package of your choice pasta
1/4 cup pine nuts (dry roasted pine nuts don’t need kosher supervision, according to the CRC)
1 chopped onion
3 cloves chopped garlic
4 handfuls chopped kale or spinach (do not use frozen)
2T butter
2T dry white wine
3T freshly chopped basil
salt and pepper to taste
2 chopped tomatoes
1/2 block feta cheese

Prepare pasta according to package. Roast the pine nuts over a dry pan on medium heat for 2 minutes. Shake pan and roast 2 minutes more. The smell is divine, so restrain yourself and do not to eat them all.

Saute onion and garlic over butter on medium heat until soft. Add kale or spinach and saute until soft (1 minute for spinach and about 5 for kale).
Add wine and spices. Pour vegetables over pasta and add fresh tomatoes and feta. Top with pine nuts.

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