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Whole-Wheat Penne with Sautéed Vegetables

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Recipe Courtesy of Zavino Restaurant

Lots of vegetables and whole grain pasta make this dish filling and the pesto is a rich splurge made with heart-healthy olive oil. This recipe will be demonstrated at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital’s Heart Health Day.

For the Pesto:


  • 2 cups fresh basil (picked leaves)
  • 1-cup baby arugula
  • ½ cup grated parmesan-reggiano
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 3 medium size garlic cloves
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh black pepper


    1. Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor.
    2. Blend ingredients for about 2-3 minutes, adding a little extra olive oil if it’s too thick.

For the Pasta:


  • 1 pound dry whole-wheat penne (or other pasta)
  • 1-cup small chunks of sundried tomatoes (keep sundried tomato separated from all the other veggies to incorporate at the end for garnish)
  • ½ cup of small-diced asparagus
  • ½ cup small-diced zucchini
  • ½ cup of small-diced squash
  • ½ cup small-diced cauliflower
  • 1 bunch of green Swiss chard (cut in small pieces and wash)
  • 10 leaves of basil chiffonade


    1. Cook pasta for about 10 minutes in boiling water (drain and reserve).
    2. In a big pot of boiling water, blench all veggies except Swiss chard.
    3. Leave the veggies in the boiling water for about 45 seconds (blanching).
    4. Remove veggies from boiling water.
    5. In a stir-fry pan, add extra virgin olive oil in medium heat; add 5 pieces of garlic cloves small-diced to the pan.
    6. Sauté all the veggies after they are blanched for about 2-3 minutes.
    7. Add salt and fresh black pepper to taste.
    8. In a big bowl, mix the pasta and veggies, adding pesto and fresh basil chiffonade.
    9. Garnish with small-diced sundried tomatoes (Add extra pesto for creaminess and toasted pine nuts).

Reminder: The ingredients in a recipe determine if it should be eaten every day, some days, or on special occasions. It's up to you and you doctor to determine what can be part of a healthy diet for you and any special needs you may have.

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Photo by Flicker user mollycakes / CC BY-NC 2.0

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