It’s finally that time in Austin where the weather is still cool enough in the evenings to enjoy a meal outside without getting attacked by bugs or sweating instantly. The longer days make it perfect for an enjoyable evening meal outdoors. In celebration of this amazing (yet short lived) weather, I’m sharing my favorite Al Fresco recipes this month. Al Fresco is a style of dining that is casual, “in cool air” or outdoors, and often shared with friends or a special someone. To start, a gluten free, dairy free pasta recipe that Chase & I have fallen in love with. It was a sort of an off the cuff, here’s what I have around let’s see if this taste ok recipe, that turned into a wow this is good, no like really good one. So I started rotating it into our meal plan.
We’ve talked a lot about quick weeknight meals that taste good, are healthy, and most importantly are easy. (And hopefully have even helped some of you start to implement these with our Pantry Capsule.) This recipe is for sure another one of those easy weeknights meals.
I’m talking less than 30 minutes!
Now, you may look at the ingredients and notice most are not fresh. While fresh ingredients are ideal, we can’t completely disregard the fantastic flavors marinated and jarred foods can bring to a dish. “Canning” as our grandparents generation would have called it, was the best way to preserve your garden’s harvest without anything going to waste. They didn’t use cans for this though, they used glass mason jars.
Pantry friendly (aka jarred or canned) ingredients does not mean a recipe has to be bland. These vegetable or fruits are picked at their peak freshness and jarring, simply extends their shelf life. The idea is to make food available and edible long after the processing time. A 1997 study found that canned fruits and vegetables are as rich with dietary fiber and vitamins as the same corresponding fresh or frozen foods, and in some cases the canned products are richer than their fresh or frozen counterparts. This is a good argument that these items still add significant value to a dish.
When shopping for these ingredients remember that most items in a glass jar are marinated and, thus, flavorful. My best advice when choosing these items at your grocery store is to read the ingredients. These items should not have tons of items that you can’t pronounce or any food dyes. I always prefer glass and boxed over canned. But, if you do go with canned, be sure they have a BPA free lining.
The artichokes I use contain only artichoke hearts, water, vinegar, oil, salt, garlic, and ascorbic acid (which is vitamin c used a preservative). My sundried tomatoes contain only tomatoes, olive oil, dehydrated garlic, spices and salt. This is why these ingredients add so much flavor, they have been sealed airtight to absorbing all of the goodness.
Okay, enough about that. I also realize you may be skeptical when you read the ingredients for my creamy sauce. But I promise you, you will be shocked by the rich and cheesy taste. It will pour on like an alfredo sauce and as you cook, will look similar to a sauce with parmesan in it. I like to use a chickpea penne pasta to up the protein and fiber, but any penne of your choosing will do. This is a pasta dish that won’t leave you feel bloated and wishing you hadn’t indulged. It’s guilt free and so good. Pair it with your favorite wine, a simple salad and surrounded by friends under the setting sun!Print
Dairy free but you’d never know, you will be shocked by the rich and cheesy taste of this pasta. It’s guilt free and so good.
- 1 – 8 oz box of gluten free penne pasta*, I used this brand
- 1 – 4 oz package of prosciutto
- ½ c sundried tomatoes marinated in olive oil**
- ¾ c marinated artichoke hearts, drained & roughly chopped**
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- ½ medium onion, julian
- Optional: fresh oregano
- 1 c full fat coconut milk, canned
- 1 egg
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tsp italian seasoning
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp pepper
- ¼ tsp garlic salt
- Boil water and cook pasta as instructed on the box.
- Drizzle oil onto a saute pan over medium heat.
- Add onions and cook until softened, stirring occasionally (about 3-4 minutes).
- While onions cook, whisk together sauce ingredients and set aside.
- Tear prosciutto into bite size pieces and add to onions.
- Cook prosciutto and onions for 3 minutes, stirring over med-low.
- Add sundried tomatoes, artichokes, and chopped garlic and stir together, cook for 2 minutes.
- Pour sauce over ingredients, stir, and cook on medium-low for 3 more minutes.
- Finally, add cooked pasta and stir to incorporate over low heat.
- Serve topped with fresh oregano.
*When cooking a gluten free pasta, always start checking it between 6-7 minutes for doneness, do not overcook or your pasta will become mealy and fall apart. Always rinse with cold water immediately to stop it from up cooking. Whole wheat or white penne pasta can be substituted if you are not gluten free.
**For best flavor and texture, these should be marinated in a glass jar if available.