Penne Pasta with Tomatoes and Parmesan

During the week, my husband and I like to eat at home. Cooking dinner together allows us time to unwind and share news about our days with one another. Oftentimes this happens as we prep for dinner, him doing his best impression of the knife skills of a famous chef on the Food Network while I pull ingredients from the pantry and get the oven preheating. We might not host a cooking show in real life, but don’t tell us that. 😉

eMeals Penne with Tomatoes and Parmesan

We naturally gravitate to pastas, fresh veggies, and light-on-meat fare, so the Mediterranean Plan (for two, in our case) suits us perfectly. Last night we made Penne with Tomatoes and Parmesan, which whipped together in about half an hour—even with a homemade pesto sauce! Throw some baby spinach, toasted walnuts, Parmesan, olive oil, and basil (which I’ll admit I almost forgot and had to rush out into our tiny backyard garden to snag at the very last minute) into the food processor, whiz it together, toss it with the whole-grain pasta and grape tomatoes, and wa la! Fancy cheffy meal with terms I didn’t understand? Nope. Fantastic homemade meal in less time than it would take us to drive to a restaurant? Yes!

We paired the pasta with a quick Chopped Greek Salad—which is another thing I love about the Mediterranean plan. The salads are always so fresh and easy, and often pair ingredients together that wouldn’t occur to me. (My husband flipped for the tangerine salad a few weeks ago!)

eMeals Penne with Tomatoes and Parmesan

The pesto made enough for two meals, so we’ll have it on a shrimp pizza next. It was so easy and versatile that you could spread it on grilled chicken or fish too! Sometimes we add our own touches, like we did here with shaved pieces of Parmesan on top.

Below is the Penne Pasta with Tomatoes and Parmesan recipe (if you’re serving two, cut it in half and the recipe will make enough for dinner and a lunch serving the next day). Have you tried a yummy eMeals recipe recently? Ever given the Mediterranean plan a try?

Penne Pasta with Tomatoes and Parmesan
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Serves: 6
  • 1 (16-oz) box whole-wheat penne pasta
  • 1½ cups chopped walnuts
  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 1½ cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 pints grape tomatoes, cut in half
  1. Cook pasta according to package directions.
  2. Cook nuts in a nonstick skillet over medium-low heat until toasted and fragrant; let cool.
  3. Process basil, spinach, ½ cup cheese, nuts, red pepper, garlic, salt and 1 teaspoon oil in a food processor until pureed. With processor running, slowly pour remaining oil through food chute, processing until smooth.
  4. Toss together pasta, tomatoes and half of pesto; top with remaining 1 cup cheese. (Reserve remaining half of pesto for another meal. Spoon into a small bowl, and place plastic wrap directly on pesto.)
  5. Serve immediately.


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