Who Says Pasta Needs Sauce?

No matter what kind of pasta you prefer, they're all tasty when drowning in sauce. But every so often, it's nice to go sauceless and just enjoy the pasta with some veggies and a little cheese.

Spaghetti, tortellini, ravioli or penne are all delicious with marinara or Alfredo sauce. The only thing is, the more sauce the heavier the pasta dish. Then if you add chicken or meatballs, the entreé gains even more calories. And while these options are ideal for the chilly fall and winter months, they're not nearly as exciting when the sun shines brightly and the temperature begins to rise. It's on these occasions that less is more. Pasta's still a great dinner option, but a cold pasta salad might be more to your liking. If you're craving something hot though, why not try your pasta without the sauce? It won't be nearly as heavy, and you'll still get the tasty dinner you've been dreaming about. Add a protein and some vegetables, and you have the perfect meal for a warm spring or summer evening.

Mushroom & chicken farfalle with walnuts

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 12 ounces farfalle pasta
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup crimini mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1 bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Sprinkle the chicken breasts with salt and pepper and bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until no longer pink. Once cooked, chop into half-inch cubes and set aside.
  3. Cook the pasta according to the package directions, drain (reserving one-quarter cup of the pasta water) and set aside.
  4. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook for one minute. Add the mushrooms and cook until tender, about four minutes. Add the walnuts and chicken and cook for two more minutes. Stir in the pasta and cooking water until combined and water has evaporated, about one minute. Stir in the parsley and remove from the heat.
  5. Divide pasta mixture between four plates, sprinkle each with one-quarter cup of Parmesan and serve.

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