Pasta Primavera: Done Quick and Easy

pasta primavera

One of the easiest Italian meals to make in a hurry is pasta primavera. With just a few simple ingredients, you can whip up an entire meal, along with plenty of leftovers in 30 minutes. The great thing is you can improvise and add random vegetables from your fridge, like bell peppers, carrots, broccoli, peas, and zucchini (or better yet, whatever is in your garden if you have one). Turn it into a meat dish by sauteing chicken or shrimp, and thicken the sauce with cheese or a small amount of heavy cream.

Click here to read the full ingredient list and directions for this easy recipe.

Here are some other Italian recipes you might like from this blog:

* Stuffed Bell Peppers
* Crispy Baked Risotto Balls
* 10 Easy Italian Thanksgiving Dinner Ideas

Delicious Homemade Italian Stuffed Bell Peppers Recipe

bell peppers
Stuffed bell peppers come in many varieties, from risotto filled to breaded stuffing filled peppers. Alternatively, you can also make your stuffed peppers a little bit healthier by opting for mixing in other fresh vegetables with your risotto or stuffing. Read on for directions on how to make this delicious homemade Italian stuffed bell peppers recipe!


* 4 whole bell peppers, red or green
Add carrots, peas, water chestnuts, bamboo chutes, or fresh parsnips to add even more vegetables to this recipe!
* 4-6 celery stalks, cleaned and sliced into small pieces
* 1 can diced Italian style tomatoes, or two whole fresh tomatoes diced
* 1 teaspoon dried basil
* 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
* 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, or 1/2 tablespoon fresh minced garlic (add the fresh version in with the veggie mixture below)
* 2 tbsp. olive oil
* 1/4 cup water
* 1/2 cup fresh sliced white mushrooms (optional)
* 1/8 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper


1. Preheat an oven to 350 degrees. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a saucepan with celery, water, and mushrooms on medium heat for five minutes. Drain the tomatoes, then add to the vegetable mixture. Cook on low for approximately five minutes, until the tomatoes start to soften.

2. While the vegetables are cooking, wash the bell peppers. Cut the tops of the bell peppers off around the stem. Rinse each pepper out to remove as many seeds as possible, and removing the pit of seeds. Rinse again, and drain to remove water.

3. Add the spices to the boiling water and vegetable mix. Add the stuffing mix to the water, stirring, then fluffing with a fork.

4. Add the stuffing mixture to the inside of the peppers. Add mozzarella cheese or additional olive oil to flavor the stuffing if desired. Fill to the top.

5. Place the stuffed peppers in a tall glass baking pan, and bake for approximately 15-20 minutes. Serve immediately.

You Might Also Enjoy:

* Crispy Baked Risotto Balls
* Ten Delicious Italian Thanksgiving Recipes
* Easy Homemade Pizza Dough
* Homemade Italian Sausage and Peppers

Crispy Baked Risotto Balls

risotto balls

If you're in the mood for fried food without the fat, these crispy baked risotto balls are perfect! Easy and quick, you can add a number of other ingredients to the mix, like broccoli florets, diced ham, or diced mushrooms! These make a great snack for parties, and an excellent appetizer before dinner. Bon appetit!


* 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese (fresh)
* 2 slices prosciutto cut small and diced
* 4 cups chicken broth
* 1 onion chopped
* 1 Tablespoon olive oil
* 1 cup Arborio rice
* 1/2 cup dry white wine
* 2 Tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
* 1 Tablespoon grated lemon zest
* 1/4 teaspoon paprika
* 1 Tablespoon butter
* 1/4 cup dried breadcrumbs


1. Boil the chicken broth, and saute the onion in a saucepan with the olive oil. Add the rice and cook for 1 minute.

2. Add 1/2 cup cooked broth with the dry white wine. Stir until the rice absorbs the liquid. Gradually add the broth every few minutes until all of the broth is absorbed. After absorbed, stir in the parmesan cheese, lemon zest, and butter.

3. Mix the prosciutto and mozzarella cheese in a bowl. Preheat an oven to 450 degrees F. Sandwich the risotto between a small amount of the mozzarella and prosciutto mixture, then roll into a ball. Roll the ball in breadcrumbs. Repeat to make 8-10 balls.

4. Bake for five minutes, then turn and bake another five minutes, until crispy golden brown. Serve immediately.

More recommended Italian recipes:
* Homemade Veggie Pasta Primavera
* Penne with Vodka Cream Sauce
* Easy Homemade Pizza Dough

10 Delicious Italian Dishes for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving doesn't always have to be just turkey, stuffing, rolls, and vegetables. Many Italian American families make many Italian dishes for Thanksgiving, from stuffed shells to chicken parmesan, meatballs to sausage and peppers (in addition to the turkey!). Looking to give your Thanksgiving dinner a distinctly Italian appeal this year? Try out one of these ten delicious Italian dishes for Thanksgiving!

1. Sausage Lasagna Recipe. Not just your run of the mill lasagna, this one contains a full pound of Italian sausage to spice it up.

2. Chicken Cacciatore. This is a classic Italian dish that's especially good in the colder weather. Need step by step foolproof directions? This video will walk you through it!

3. Zuppa Inglese Recipe. Who knows how its name came into being, but it's delicious for dessert, and certainly something that will wow your guests!

4. Italian Carrot Chicken. Sometimes known as "Venetian Chicken," the pasta in this recipe is coated in a rich carrot sauce. Truly unique!

5. Crockpot Meatballs. Any space you can make by cooking something outside of the oven will help on Thanksgiving Day! That's why this easy slow cooker meatball recipe is an easy go-to plan for Turkey Day.

6. Slow Cooker Minestrone Soup. Like the meatballs listed above, you'll be thankful (as you should be!) on Thanksgiving for having the extra room in your oven with this minestrone soup recipe.

7. Italian Stuffed Shells. You've probably had ricotta stuffed shells before, but have you tried them with spinach? They add a lot of flavor, as well as nutrition. Not to mention they won't fill you before the turkey since they're mostly vegetables.

8. Balsamic Fennel. Fennel comes into its peak season during the fall and winter months, so you should find it easy to come across fresh fennel bulbs in your supermarket. A great light starter to your meal!

9. Italian Sausage and Peppers. It's the mother of all Italian foods, authentic sausage and peppers! Delicious anytime of year, so why not on Thanksgiving?

10. Tiramisu. It's one of the most decadent, fluffy, rich, creamy, and luscious dessert recipes made by the's tiramisu! You're in luck, too, because the website linked is dedicated exclusively to tiramisu recipes!

Homemade Vegetable Pasta Primavera

pasta primavera
If you're looking for an easy dish to make that tastes just as good leftover, vegetable primavera is a great choice. Homemade vegetable pasta primavera can contain a variety of vegetables, from either the supermarket or your local farmstand (though the farm variety will taste better most likely!). Usually summer squashes and zucchinis make great additions, and saute beautifully. Read on for directions to make this easy Italian recipe!


* One large zucchini squash, sliced and halved
* One large yellow squash, sliced and halved
* One ripe garden tomato, diced
* Small bunch fresh basil leaves, chopped
* 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
* 2 Tablespoons olive oil
* 2 Tablespoon fresh grated parmesan cheese
* 1 box penne pasta, shells, or rotini


1. In a large skillet on medium heat, saute the olive oil with the zucchini and yellow squash for 12 minutes, or until slightly softened. Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to box directions.

2. Add the diced tomatoes and basil, then saute the mixture for approximately 4 minutes, enough to warm the tomatoes and cook slightly. The tomatoes may fall apart, but will add texture and flavor to the dish.

3. Add the parmesan cheese, cooked pasta, and pepper to the mixture and toss. Serve immediately.

homemade pasta primavera

Homemade Fettuccine Alfredo

fettuccine alfredo
One of the richest and most popular dishes in Italian American restaurants has to be fettuccine alfredo. There's something about the full flavor, creaminess, and cheesiness that combine to make a satisfying, go-to Italian dinner recipe for holidays, weekends, and anytime you're feeling like the ultimate in comfort food. The beauty of making homemade fettuccine alfredo is that it's incredibly easy to make at home, with just a few basic ingredients. There are many variances in recipes all over the web, but the basis for all of them are cheese, heavy cream, and pasta.


* 1 package fettuccine
* 6 Tablespoons butter
* 1/4 cup heavy cream
* 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
* White mushrooms, cleaned and sliced lengthwise thin
* Fresh ground pepper to taste


1. Prepare the fettuccine according to package directions.

2. Prepare a large saucepan with 1 tablespoon of butter. Add the butter and pepper to the saucepan, then add the prepared fettuccine. Add the cream to the mixture and heat until it thickens. Add the mushrooms and cheese to the mixture, heating throughly and tossing the mixture frequently. Melt the cheese entirely, then serve.

Some suggested items to add to the recipe:

* Cooked garden peas
* Fresh baked diced chicken breasts
* Sun dried tomatoes
* Asparagus
* Roasted red peppers

Penne with Homemade Vodka Cream Sauce

vodka cream sauce pasta
Above: another vodka cream sauce recipe, using tagliatelli pasta.

If you're tired of the typical red Italian sauces, but don't want a white sauce, penne vodka cream sauce lies right about in the middle. Simple to make, this easy homemade vodka cream sauce can be made in bulk to serve larger crowds!


* 2 cups cooked penne pasta
* 4 Tablespoons olive oil
* 3 minced shallots
* 1/3 cup chicken broth
* 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
* 1/4 teaspooon crushed red pepper
* 1/4 cup heavy cream
* 3 Tablespoons vodka
* Fresh minced flat leaf parsley
* Grated parmesan cheese


1. Saute the shallots until slightly cooked. Stir in the paste, crushed red pepper, and broth. Reduce the heat to low, adding the vodka and cream slowly. Stir constantly to avoid scorching. Heat thoroughly, but do not boil or burn.

2. Toss the sauce mixture with the cooked pasta. Top with the grated parmesan cheese and parsley, serving immediately.

Easy Homemade Pizza Dough

Have a spare few minutes? You can make your own easy, homemade pizza dough and save a lot of money, not to mention enjoy the taste of fresh baked dough whenever you'd like! Pizza dough also freezes easily if wrapped sufficiently. Read on for directions on how to make this easy homemade pizza dough!


* 4 cups all purpose flour
* 1 pakcet active dry yeast (.25 oz)
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups hot water (approximately 120 degrees F)

pizza dough

1. Combine 2 cups of flour, yeast, and salt in a mixing bowl. Beat the mixture slowly with an electric mixer on slow, mixing in the water slowly. Beat for 3 minutes on slow, pushing the dough back down the bowl as needed with a rubber spatula. Increase speed to medium, and add 1/2 cup of flour. Beat until the dough is stiff and drier, approx. 2 minutes. Hand stir in the remaining flour with a wooden spoon, switching to hand mixing when necessary.

2. Lightly grease the sides of a large bowl. Place the dough in the bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and let the dough rise in a warm spot. Let the dough double in size, approximately one hour.

3. Dived the dough in half. Wrap in plastic wrap and freeze, or refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Now you have your own homemade pizza dough! Make it in bulk for the whole month, have it on the weekends, and save yourself some time.

Slow Cooker Italian Meatballs Recipe

Meet your new best friends, the slow cooker, and meatballs. Save some time, and enjoy the convenience and great taste of this tender, easy, slow cooker Italian meatballs recipe! Read on for directions and ingredients.

To cut the fat in this recipe, use 90% ground beef or higher, and use 1 egg with 2 egg whites.
* 2 pounds ground beef, 85% or higher
* 1 1/4 cup Italian bread crumbs
* 3/4 cup grated cheese
* 5 fresh basil leaves, chopped
* 3 eggs
* 2 28 oz cans of crushed tomatoes
* 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
* 1 small can tomato paste
* 1 28 oz can diced tomatoes


1. Combine the ground beef, breadcrumbs, eggs, grated cheese, and basil into a large mixing bowl. Thoroughly combine with a wooden spoon.

2. Roll the combined meat mixture into 1.5"-2" balls. Roll thoroughly to smooth the meatball into a perfect sphere, so it won't crumble during cooking.

3. Pour the minced garlic, crushed tomatoes, and diced tomatoes into the crockpot slow cooker. Heat the crockpot on medium heat. Add the meatballs to the sauce, covering entirely with the sauce. Cover and cook 8 hours, or until the middle of the meatball reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.

4. Add a tablespoon of the tomato paste to the sauce if it needs to be thickened. (Grease from the meatballs will enter the sauce). Also add grated cheese, salt, and pepper to taste.

Other recipes you might like:

* Chicken Parmigiana Recipe
* Spaghetti with Bell Pepper Marinara
* Healthy Eggplant Parmesan
* Homemade Italian Balsamic Fennel

Slow Cooker Homemade Crockpot Minestrone Soup

minestrone soup
Minestrone is a staple not just for Italians, but for restaurants, chefs, moms and dads all over the world. This recipe can be made in a slow cooker if you're short on time, or over a stove top. Here's how to make this slow cooker homemade minestrone soup in just a few minutes!


* 1 can canellini beans
* 2 cans beef broth
* 1/8 teaspoon salt
* 1 tablespoon olive oil
* 2 chopped onions
* 1 sliced carrot
* 4 celery stalks, sliced
* 1 tablespoon minced garlic
* 1 can (28 oz) plum tomatoes
* 2 Tablespoons dried parsley
* 2 small diced zucchini
* 2 potatoes, scrubbed and diced
* 1/2 cup small pasta (like ditalini or tubini)


1. Saute all of the chopped vegetables along with the olive oil in a skillet. Soften the veggies until lightly cooked, about 10 minutes.

2. Add all of the ingredients except the pasta to a crockpot. Alternatively, add to a large soup pan and place on low heat. For the crockpot version, cook for 4 hours on low heat.

3. Check the soup to see if the vegetables are soft. Add the pasta if soft, and cook for approximately 15 minutes. Check often to see the firmness of the pasta. Serve immediately when pasta is tender, remove from heat to avoid cooking the pasta further.

Italian Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Shells Recipe

spinach stuffed shellsRicotta cheese tastes wonderful in many Italian recipes ranging from lasagna to ricotta cheesecake. The richness of ricotta is from the density and high fat content. Fortunately, there are part skim varieties that can help cut the fat in your recipes. To further reduce your fat intake, spinach is a tasty addition that will add a whole lot of flavor! Read on for directions and the ingredient list of this Italian spinach and ricotta stuffed shells recipe.


* 1 Box Jumbo stuffed shells
* 2 Bags fresh spinach, washed
* 1 cup part skim ricotta cheese
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 cup low fat mozzarella cheese
* 1/2 cup marinara


1. Cook the shells according to directions. While the shells are cooking, prepare a pot of boiling water for the spinach. Remove the stems, then bring the water to a boil. Boil the spinach for approximately 10 minutes. Drain and let cool slightly.

2. Combine the ricotta, salt, and cooked spinach in a bowl. Preheat an oven to 400 degrees. In a large glass baking pan, arrange the shells. Fill each shell generously with the ricotta-spinach mixture. Top with the marinara and then mozzarella cheese.

3. Bake the shells for approximately 20-25 minutes, until the cheese is melted. Serve immediately.

Homemade Healthy Baked Eggplant Parmesan

eggplantsEggplant Parmesan is a great way to get your fill of an unusual vegetable, but traditionally contains a high amount of fat and calories (like any dish high in cheese, eggs and breading will do). To cut the fat, and even reduce the workload on your recipe, skip a few steps and cut out just a couple of ingredients. Read on for the full homemade, healthy baked eggplant parmesan recipe!


* One whole eggplant, washed and peeled, sliced into 1/2 thick slices (coin shaped)
* 1 teaspoon sea salt
* Homemade marinara sauce
* Fat free or low fat mozzarella cheese (lowfat as opposed to fat free usually melts better)
* 1 cup Italian breadcrumbs
* 1 Tablespoon dried basil


1. Preheat an oven to 400 degrees. Arrange the peeled eggplant on a baking sheet spaced out. Sprinkle the slices with half the amount of salt (1/2 teaspoon) salt, and bake the eggplant slices for 20 minutes.

2. Remove from the oven, turning the slices, and sprinkle the other side with the remainder of salt. Bake the slices for 10 minutes.

3. Allow the slices to cool slightly, then mist the slices with water, or lightly brush them with water. Alternatively, you can use a small amount of olive oil (but the recipe will be slightly higher in fat). Combine the basil with the Italian breadcrumbs. Dip each slice into the breadcrumb mixture, turning and coating each side.

4. Arrange the slices in a glass baking pan overlapping. Top the first layer of eggplant slices with marinara, then cheese. Repeat the layers until the eggplant is used. Bake the eggplant mixture for 15-20 minutes, until the cheese melts and the entree is fully heated. Serve immediately.

Homemade Italian Balsamic Fennel

fennel recipeThink you haven't tried fennel before? Fennel flavor is also known as anise, which you can find in cookies, liqueur, and many candies. It's an Italian favorite, and a healthy root vegetable that hits its peak stride in the fall and winter months. This homemade Italian balsamic fennel is a great dish to have as an appetizer or side salad. Known for its digestive properties, fennel is often served in Italy at or near the end of the courses to aid in digestion.


* 2 fennel bulbs, sliced
* 6 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
* 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
* Parmesan cheese wedge
* 1/8 teaspoon coarse ground pepper


1. Remove outer layers of the fennel bulb, and halve the bulb. Remove the core, then cut each half into thin slices. Place the fennel in a large salad bowl.

2. Drizzle oil and vinegar over fennel. Slice cheese with a cheese slicer over fennel salad, approximately 12 thin slices.

Serves 4 people, and is great for fall and winter!
Be sure to check out our other Italian recipes:

* Homemade Italian Sausage and Peppers
* Stir Fry Italian Squash
* Homemade Basil Mushroom Spinach Pockets

Homemade Italian Sausage and Peppers

italian sausage and peppersHomemade Italian sausage and peppers is one of the most satisfying, flavorful meals, with robust texture. It's a comfort food you can rely on to warm you up in the fall and winter months without fail. Read on to learn how to make this Italian favorite in just 25 minutes!


* 4 Tablespoons olive oil
* 3 white onions, diced
* 4 peppers, cut into strips and deseeded
* 1 cup tomato juice
* 2 Tablespoons minced garlic
* 5 sausage links, cut into 1" slices
* 2 whole fresh tomatoes, diced
* 1 Tablespoon dried oregano
* 1/2 teaspoon sea salt


1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan, adding the onions and peppers. Saute the peppers and onions until softened, then add the tomato juice, sausage, and garlic.

2. Add the remaining spices. Stir and continue to simmer until the sauce thickens up. Add salt and pepper to taste. If necessary, drain off some of the sauce and reheat to thicken the sauce.

3. Add the sausage and peppers mixture to freshly cooked pasta, or serve it up in a fresh sub roll for a delicious sandwich! Top with grated cheese. Double the recipe for easy sandwiches for the weekends!

Stir Fry Italian Squash Recipe

Throughout the summer and fall months, you can find an abundance of squashes perfect for stir fry meals and sides. The crunchiness of the vegetables is complimented well with fresh basil leaves, garlic cloves, and a high quality olive oil. In their peak, you can find zucchini squash and yellow squash for sometimes under a dollar at farmstands. At the grocery store, you're apt to pay more, and not have that farm fresh taste. Whenever possible, buy from your local farm stand or farmer's market. Read on for an easy, delicious, and healthy stir fry italian squash recipe, suitable as a main course inside of a pocket, or great for a side!


* 1 yellow squash, washed and peeled, cut into 1/2" thick circles, then halved
* 2 zucchini squash, washed and peeled, cut into 1/2 thick circles, then halved
* 2 Tablespoons of olive oil
* 20 large fresh basil leaves (approximately 3 Tablespoons) chopped
* 1 small garlic clove, minced


1. Add the garlic clove and olive oil to a medium saucepan. Heat on low until the garlic lightly browns.

2. Add the squash to the mixture, stirring frequently. Increase the heat to medium and cook for approximately 20 minutes, or until the squash just start to soften.

3. Add the chopped fresh basil to the squash. Cook the squash on low heat, stirring frequently, for an additional 5-7 minutes. Add additional olive oil to the vegetables to avoid burning if the veggies start to stick. Serve immediately with fresh grated cheese or black pepper and sea salt.

Homemade Basil and Mushroom Spinach Pockets

pita pocketsEasy to Make Homemade Basil and Mushroom Spinach Pockets

The soft, thick texture of spinach and the pliable nature and fresh taste of mushrooms seem to go together perfect inside of a pita pocket -- if cooked correctly. Few ingredients make up this easy vegetarian dinner, and you'll be getting a load of vitamin K in your diet. Fresh pita pockets make this dinner even better - try finding fresh baked ones from a local bakery.


* Two large bags of spinach, washed and stems removed
* 12 white mushrooms, cleaned and chopped into slices
* 1 teaspoon minced garlic
* 1 teaspoon dried basil
* 1 Tablespoon olive oil
* 3 large pita pockets, sliced in half
* 3 slices provolone cheese


1. Rip the washed spinach into small pieces. Place all of the spinach into a large saucepan or boiling pot and fill with water.

2. Bring the water and spinach to a boil. Continue to cook on high heat until the spinach is dark green and wilted, approximately 20 minutes.

3. Strain the cooked spinach, pressing the water from the spinach. Add the garlic, basil and mushrooms to the saucepan, along with the strained spinach and olive oil. Over low heat, saute the mushrooms and spinach mixture for approximately 7 minutes, or until the mushrooms soften.

4. Preheat an oven to 400 degrees. Arrange the pita pocket halves on a baking sheet. Rip each cheese slice in half, placing a half in each pita pocket half. Top with the spinach mixture, distributing the spinach mix evenly into the six pockets.

5. Bake the pockets for approximately 10 minutes, until the cheese melts and the pita pockets are lightly browned.

Easy, Quick Homemade Italian Marinara Sauce

A quick marinara sauce that tastes good doesn't have to be poured from a can. In fact, you'll find this version to be much better than most canned varieties! A few basic ingredients and steps, and you'll have a go-to sauce recipe on hand at all times.


- 1 Tablespoon minced garlic, or 2 medium cloves minced
- 24 oz. can diced tomatoes
- 1 Tablespoon fresh basil leaves, or 3 teaspoons dried basil
- 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil


1. Saute the garlic and olive oil on low heat. Brown the minced garlic until lightly browned.

2. Drain the diced tomatoes and add to the olive oil and garlic mixture. Heat over low. Using a fork, crush the tomatoes against the side of the pan. Alternatively, you can use a potato masher to pulverize the tomatoes. Crush the tomatoes until slightly crushed, and the tomatoes are no longer in large chunks.

3. Continue to simmer the tomatoes for approximately 15 minutes on low heat, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Add the basil in the last five minutes. Serve immediately over pasta, bread, or cool and freeze for use later.

This version of marinara has diced peppers added for a tasty variation.