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  • Writer's pictureRhonda Morrison

Pasta dishes to simplify summer living

Simple Summer Pesto recipe, Margherita Sauce recipe, and Shrimp Asparagus and Bowtie Pasta recipe included for you! #pastasauce #sharecooklove #easyrecipe #whatsfordinner #summer #celebrateathome #familyfun #pestorecipe #shrimprecipe




By now, you all know how I like to keep things simple. I am a streamline cook in my kitchen. Nothing is better to me than recipes that are worthy of a celebration yet are quick and easy to make.


Today, many of us are celebrating at home. There are graduations, birthdays, anniversaries, and next week is Memorial Day. These occasions are a great time to celebrate with deliciousness that leaves time for the cook to enjoy the moment as well. Delectable pasta dishes create an opening for summer flavors and quality time.


A nice chilled pasta dish can take center stage in such celebrations. Pesto and tomato-based sauces are so simple to make. All you need is a food processor and a few fresh ingredients for a crowd-pleasing dish that complements a sunny day anywhere.

Twist this recipe your way for what you already have on hand.

Throw in a few ingredients that help make life a little easier. A quality canned tomato can reduce prep and cook time. I keep an assortment of canned diced, whole, and crushed tomatoes in my pantry for when I want to make a simple pasta dish on the fly. Check out my Margherita Sauce recipe for inspiration. Twist this recipe your way for what you already have on hand.


Fresh basil is not always a necessity when making pesto. Fresh parsley, spinach, garlic, parmesan, almonds, and olive oil blended together create a nice pesto to serve with steak or lamb. I often have fresh parsley and spinach on hand waiting to be put to good use. My Simple Summer Pesto recipe is a great place to start in your next pesto adventure.


If you have sauce left over after plating a pasta dish, save it to use as a pizza sauce. You can also dress a loaf of artisan bread with the sauce then top it with Italian cheeses before toasting it in the oven. Sauces can be frozen or refrigerated for future scrumptious recipes.

My Shrimp, Asparagus, and Bowtie Pasta recipe is a crowd-pleasing, celebration-worthy dish that whips up in just twenty minutes. It is a creamy pasta dish that incorporates some of my favorite flavors of summer. You can make this dish in the morning for dinner that night or a day ahead. This recipe has short cuts to simplify meal planning for all your upcoming celebrations at home. This dish goes perfectly with a nice chopped salad and your favorite toasted side of bread.


Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions on recipe modifications, short cuts, or suggestions. I am more than happy to help you enjoy every moment in your kitchen.


Simple Summer Pesto

  • 3 cups fresh basil leaves

  • 3 cups spinach leaves

  • ½ cup pine nuts

  • 3 cloves garlic

  • 2 to 3 tbsp. olive oil

  • ¼ cup parmesan, shredded

  • Salt and pepper to taste

Toast pine nuts if desired on a sheet pan under the broiler at 400 degrees until lightly browned. Approximately 3 to 5 minutes. Walnuts can be substitutes for pine nuts. Place spinach, pine nuts, and garlic in a food processor or blender. Pulse until chopped. Add basil and turn on low. Drizzle in olive oil to desired consistency. Remove from the processor and stir in parmesan, salt, and pepper. Avoid overprocessing basil as this can cause the basil to turn bitter.


Margherita Sauce

  • 28 oz. can whole San Marzano tomatoes, drained

  • 3 cups fresh basil leaves

  • 2 cloves garlic

  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil

  • Salt and pepper to taste

Place garlic and olive oil in a food processor or blender. Pulse to chop. Add tomatoes and basil leaves. Blend on low until basil is chopped. While on low, add salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate until ready to use.


Shrimp, Asparagus, and Bowtie Pasta

  • 16 oz. bowtie pasta

  • 2 Tbsp chopped parsley

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • ¼ cup shredded parmesan cheese

  • 4 Tbsp. olive oil, divided

  • 1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut to bite-size

  • 1 Tbsp. dried Italian herb blend

  • 14.5 oz. canned Italian style diced tomatoes

  • 4 oz. mascarpone or cream cheese softened

  • 1 pound medium raw shrimp, peeled and deveined

Boil pasta in salted water according to directions. Drain pasta and toss with 1 tbsp. parsley, garlic, parmesan, and 2 tbsp. olive oil. Heat remaining olive oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add asparagus, Italian herb blend, salt, and pepper to taste to the skillet. Sauté for 5 minutes stirring frequently. Add the canned tomatoes and stir. Stir in mascarpone or cream cheese until smooth and creamy. Salt and pepper shrimp to taste and add to the pan of asparagus and sauce. Continue cooking stirring frequently for an additional 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Spoon shrimp and sauce over pasta. Gently fold all ingredients together Top with remaining parsley. Garnish with additional parmesan if desired. Refrigerate to serve chilled.



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