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Pasta is a weakness of mine and I love trying out new pasta dishes that are hearty and nutritious. This Pesto Caprese Penne Pasta is packed full of protein, fiber, and delicious mix ins for a fast and easy dinner!
One of my favorite things about pesto pasta is the amount of flavor that you get out of a few fresh ingredients. I love to amp my pesto up with some extra garlic and lemon juice for a bold flavor. These flavors remind me of living in Italy where they make so many meals with simple, fresh ingredients.
It is appropriate that so many Italian foods have the same colors as the Italian flag: red, white, and green. Some say it is because of the food, and others say the colors represent various aspects and geographic areas of the country.
Regardless, the colors are so pretty together in a dish! I did not want to mix the pasta at first because I was admiring the colors all next to each other 🙂
I tend to eat very little meat, so having delicious, nutritious, and hearty vegetarian recipes is very important in this house. And this Pesto Caprese Penne Pasta does just that by utilizing Barilla ProteinPLUS Penne.
This pasta is made with extra protein built in to fuel the body at 17 grams per portion and 7 grams of fiber, not counting the other ingredients!
It is also packed with 27% of your daily recommended Omega-3. The texture and flavor of the pasta reminds me of a cross between a classic pasta and whole wheat pasta, and I love it!
Barilla ProteinPLUS will definitely be in our menu rotation as it can easily be substituted in so many pasta recipes. Find more Barilla pasta inspiration here!
There is also a Barilla ProteinPLUS Spaghetti option and both of them can be found easily at your local King Soopers, right alongside the other Barilla pastas. And the bright yellow box makes it easy to find!
This Pesto Caprese Penne Pasta is incredibly simple and fast to make, making it perfect for busy nights when you still want a hearty and nutritious meal.
First, get your pasta boiling. Then make the pesto in a food processor and prepare the mix ins of cherry tomatoes, mozzarella perline, and sliced fresh basil. When the pasta is ready, toss everything to combine and dinner is served!
These fresh ingredients remind me of living in Italy and all of the amazing Italian food that I have come across over the years.
- 1 pound penne pasta
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes (or grape tomatoes) (halved)
- 8 ounces mozzarella perline
- 1 1/4 cup basil pesto (recipe below, or your favorite pesto)
- 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves thinly sliced, for tossing with the pasta
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. When boiling, add the pasta and cook as per package directions to al dente, approximately 11 minutes. When the pasta is done, reserve 1 cup of the pasta water. Drain and set aside.
- While the pasta is cooking, prepare the pesto. Toast the pine nuts over medium low heat until just starting to turn a golden brown.
- In a food processor, combine all of the pesto ingredients together. Process until you reach your desired consistency. Season to taste with additional salt, lemon, garlic, or red pepper flakes.
- Slice the tomatoes in half into bite sized pieces. Slice the 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves from the pasta ingredient list into thin slices.
- Return the cooked pasta, pesto sauce, tomatoes, mozzarella, and fresh basil to the large cooking pot (or in a large bowl). Toss to combine. Add a little of the reserved pasta water as needed to loosen the sauce for even coating. Serve immediately.