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Happy March! With springtime right around the corner, we’ve been dreaming of sitting on a sunny patio enjoying a glass of wine and a good meal – preferably one that involves fluffy bread and this delicious basil pesto we found on a recent trip to Paso Robles. Inspired by our love of carbs and Italian flavors, we crafted this light and healthy pasta dish: Vegetarian Tuscan Pasta.
Vegetarian Tuscan Pasta Ingredients
Our vegetarian Tuscan pasta uses simple, fresh ingredients for the best flavor:
- Fresh vine tomatoes
- Minced garlic
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Penzeys Tuscan Sunset seasoning
- Fresh basil leaves
- Grated parmesan cheese
- Crushed red pepper flakes
We’ll be honest – we cheated a little to make this delicious pasta super easy, so anyone can make it in 20 minutes or less! We love cooking, but some nights we just need something quick and easy for dinner. That being said, we sometimes rely on Penzeys Spices for delicious flavor in a pinch.
Alex’s parents gifted him a box of Penzeys way back in college, and since then have gifted the two of us more spices over the years. Having some unique spice blends on hand inspired us to start cooking more and experiment with different flavor profiles. It has helped us learn what flavors we like and don’t like, and how different spices interact with each other and the ingredients they’re used with. We’ve learned a lot about cooking just by trying new things – so don’t be afraid to experiment with your own spice blends and see what you like!
Penzeys Tuscan Sunset seasoning is a blend of basil, oregano, red bell pepper, garlic, thyme, fennel, black pepper, and anise. It’s a well-balanced seasoning that pairs perfectly with fresh tomatoes and olive oil. Using penne pasta as our base, we started with those ingredients and then added garlic, a key ingredient in any Italian dish. Finally, we garnished our pasta with fresh basil, parmesan cheese, and red pepper flakes for an extra layer of classic Italian flavor.
If you don’t have Penzeys Tuscan Sunset seasoning, try experimenting with different ratios of Italian herbs to create your own blend! Tuscan seasoning generally has a more peppery flavor than a classic Italian seasoning, so don’t shy away from the black pepper. Balance it with some sweetness from fennel or anise, and make sure to use plenty of oregano, garlic, and thyme for added robustness. Playing with different flavors and taste-testing for what you like is one of the best ways to improve your cooking skills.
Either way, our easy Vegetarian Tuscan Pasta is the perfect answer to a busy weeknight. It’s flavorful, complex, and satisfying without being heavy like some pasta dishes. And it doesn’t require too much time in the kitchen, so you can spend more time eating and enjoying this delicious meal with friends and family – the Italian way!
Hope you enjoy!
Love this recipe? You may enjoy these other pasta dishes, too:
- Spinach Tomato & Olive Oil Pasta
- Goat Cheese Tomato Gnocchi
- Caprese Pesto Pasta
- Burrata Pasta with Blistered Tomatoes
Vegetarian Tuscan Pasta
- 2 cups penne pasta uncooked
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 3 vine tomatoes diced
- 1 tsp Penzeys Tuscan Sunset seasoning
- ¼ cup pasta water reserved
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Fresh basil leaves optional garnish
- Grated parmesan cheese optional garnish
- Crushed red pepper flakes optional garnish
- Bring a lightly salted pot of water to a boil. Add penne and cook for 12-13 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- In the meantime, heat olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat until shimmering. Add the garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes, or until fragrant.
- Add diced tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Lower heat and cook down for about 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Drain the cooked pasta, reserving 1/4 cup of the pasta water. Set aside.
- Add Penzeys Tuscan Sunset seasoning and pasta water to the tomatoes. Stir to combine and cook for another 2 minutes.
- Remove the sauce from heat and stir in the cooked pasta. Add fresh basil leaves if desired.
- Serve hot with an optional sprinkle of grated parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes.