Post 1.3 - Pasta Potions

Pasta, attributed to Italians but actually from China, can be versatile, nutritious and just downright yummy. Red sauce, white sauce, cream sauce, wine sauce. Or no sauce, for that matter.

I find the challenge of the summer months is to come up with a healthy, satisfying meal that suits the temperature. Let's face it - one of the reasons we don't bake a turkey in July is because it heats up the entire kitchen. Pasta can be eaten hot or cold, and in a variety of combinations that won't overwhelm your kitchen.

I came across a recipe for a fresh pasta sauce when I was in a mode of doing such things. The recipe called for Italian salad dressing, so I took things a step further and found a recipe for homemade dressing. This dressing mix can be saved in the refrigerator until it is used up, and some people even give the dry mix as a gift in a fancy jar.

Italian Salad Dressing (original recipe)

  • 1 tablespoon garlic salt
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery salt
  • 2 tablespoons salt

  1. In a small bowl, mix together the garlic salt, onion powder, sugar, oregano, pepper, thyme, basil, parsley, celery salt and regular salt. Store in a tightly sealed container.
  2. To prepare dressing, whisk together 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar (can use white), 2/3 cup canola oil, 2 tablespoons water and 2 tablespoons of the dry mix.

Now for the pasta. Tomato sauce is surprisingly easy to make, and it doesn't take hours and hours unless you are needing to cook meat within the sauce. This recipe is simple, and the sauce can be prepared in its entirety while the pasta cooks. The original recipe calls for additional red onion and basil, but this sauce (made with balsamic vinegar in my version of the recipe above) is tangy and sweet all on its own.

Pasta with Fresh Tomato Sauce (original recipe)

  • 1 (16 ounce) package dry penne pasta
  • 8 roma (plum) tomatoes, seeded
  • 1/2 cup Italian dressing
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Place the penne pasta in the pot, cook 10 minutes, until al dente, and drain.
  2. In a large bowl, toss the cooked pasta with the tomatoes (you can dice them in a blender or food processor to your desired texture), Italian dressing, and Parmesan cheese. Makes 8 servings.

You can add protein by tossing in some diced grilled chicken, some browned ground beef, or even a little prosciutto or ham. Uneaten portions reheat beautifully.

It's light and flavorful, and great with a side salad or steamed vegetables for a nice summer meal.

Do you have a question or a suggestion for a future topic? E-mail me at


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