Easy Peasy Cheesy Marinara Pasta Recipe

Here comes my fifth recipe under “My Julie & Julia Project” for this year. For those who don’t know, I have started this project under which I will be posting 100 recipes from my kitchen by the end of the year 2019. This is the Recipe #5. Here is the link to “My Julie & Julia Project” post:

Julie & Julia – Starting my journey

Pasta has become one of the incredibly sought after meals these days. Be it kids or adults, everyone loves it alike. Kids definitely love the more cheesier version though.

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I am a big big fan of Trader Joe’s products, and love experimenting with something new from one of their aisles, especially the pastas/sauces/baking section products. Found this organic brown rice pasta fusilli, and gave it a go. As always, Trader Joe’s products never disappoint us.

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The sauce that I’ve used here is Marinara sauce, which is a tomato based one. I am using store bought marinara sauce, which I had bought from Costco. And this comes handy while I am doing a really quick meal preparation, like pasta or lasagna etc. While preparing basic homemade marinara sauce is also easy, and I will link that recipe here in future. But having a store bought sauce comes handy when in hurry.

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The basic pasta preparation can be divided into three stages:

  1. Boiled pasta (Al Dante) – Different shapes or varieties can be selected like Penne/Fusilli/Farfalle/Lasagna etc.
  2. A sauce as a base – Tomato/Pesto/Mushroom, to name a few.
  3. Cream/Cheese – The dish is finished by adding little cream or different kinds of cheese like Mozzarella/Parmesan/Cheddar etc.

In addition to these three basic steps, the prepared pasta dish can be made more nutritious by the addition of different chopped veggies, like carrots, broccoli, corn, bell peppers, zucchini etc. These veggies can be added based on your personal preferences. I generally prepare pasta for my daughter. She loves to have veggies in the pasta, but most of the times, she likes them by the side in the form of a salad.

I love experimenting with trying out different herbs, both fresh and dried, in the pasta dishes. Here I am using fresh parsley in the end, and the flavor it imparts is just amazing.

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In the current recipe, I have not added any veggies, but added some boiled broccoli to her plate, to go with the pasta. She prefers to eat them separately.

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In addition to the veggies, boiled chicken can also be added, but that’s also a personal preference. I love the addition of chicken while preparing lasagna.

For some little fussy eaters, spaghetti can also be tried. When the pasta comes in shape of noodles, the little rascals can never say no. LOL!!

The reason this dish is popular at my home is not just the taste, but also the fact that this dish can be prepared quickly and easily. If you are short of time, or not in a mood to even eat out, give this quick recipe a try. One can never go wrong with it. Here’s the simple and quick recipe for you and your little munchkins.

Easy Peasy Cheesy Marinara Pasta Recipe

  • Difficulty: Easy
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Easy Peasy Cheesy Marinara Pasta..

Ingredients

  • Pasta – 2 cups (any variety, I have used Fusilli here)
  • Water (to boil the pasta) – As per boiling instructions on the packet
  • Olive oil – 3-4 drops (To drizzle while boiling pasta)
  • Butter – 1 1/2 tbsp
  • Marinara sauce – 5 tbsp (Homemade or Store bought, I have used store bought in this recipe)
  • Salt – To taste
  • Dried Rosemary – 1/4 tsp
  • Mint leaves (dried and crushed) – 1/4 tsp
  • Dried basil – 1/2 tsp
  • Black pepper powder – 1/4 tsp
  • Minced garlic (dried) – 1 tsp
  • Italian seasoning/Mixed herbs – 1 tsp
  • Jaggery powder – 3/4 tsp
  • Parmesan cheese – 2 tsp
  • Cream – 2 tbsp
  • Parsley – 2-3 sprigs

Directions

  1. Boil pasta as per boiling instructions on the packet with drizzle of olive oil and a teaspoon of salt.
  2. Drain and keep aside.
  3. In a pan or skillet, heat butter and add marinara sauce to it.
  4. Cook for 2-3 minutes and then add the drained pasta to it.
  5. Mix the sauce and pasta and cook it on medium flame for around 2-3 minutes.
  6. To the pasta sauce mixture, add salt, rosemary, crushed mint, basil, black pepper powder, Italian seasoning, minced garlic and jaggery powder.
  7. Mix everything together for 1-2 minutes till the herbs and spices get blended with the pasta.
  8. Lower the flame, and add cream and stir for a minute.
  9. Check for salt and jaggery as per taste, and add more if necessary.
  10. Finally, sprinkle some Parmesan cheese powder and chopped parsley sprigs.
  11. Stir and serve hot garnished with more chopped parsley sprigs.

Notes

  1. Use fresh herbs, if at hand.
  2. Pasta should be boiled Al Dante. Don’t over cook the pasta, as it will be cooked for a bit with the sauce also.
  3. For a more cheesier version, try adding some Mozzarella and Cheddar cheese
  4. Boiled veggies can be added before adding the sauce. I didn’t add, as my daughter prefers to have broccoli and carrots by the side, as a salad
  5. I always keep dried and crushed mint leaves at home, as they come in handy if fresh leaves are not available. Super easy to make at home. Just wash the leaves and keep them to dry in shade (no direct sunlight) for 3-4 days. Keep tossing everyday and check for the dryness. Once dried, crush and store in an airtight container.
  6. Use fresh garlic at the start of recipe after adding the butter. I keep dried minced garlic for quick dish preparations.
  7. If Jaggery powder is not available, it can be replaced with same amount of sugar.

Method (Step-by-step with pictures)

  • Boil pasta as per boiling instructions on the packet with drizzle of olive oil and a teaspoon of salt.
  • Drain and keep aside.
  • In a pan or skillet, heat butter and add marinara sauce to it.
  • Cook for 2-3 minutes and then add the drained pasta to it. Mix the sauce and pasta and cook it on medium flame for around 2-3 minutes.
  • To the pasta sauce mixture, add salt, rosemary, crushed mint, basil, black pepper powder, Italian seasoning, minced garlic and jaggery powder. Mix everything together for 1-2 minutes till the herbs and spices get blended with the pasta.
  • Lower the flame, and add cream and stir for a minute. Check for salt and jaggery as per taste, and add more if necessary. Finally, sprinkle some Parmesan cheese powder and chopped parsley sprigs.
  • Stir and serve hot garnished with more chopped parsley sprigs.

Relish the yummy and cheesy marinara pasta with your family and friends!!

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