I’m a big fan of marinara sauce. I could eat a cup of it like soup, and have actually been known to do that on occasion when making it at home. Sometimes I have to remind myself to think beyond red sauce when it comes to pasta.

Last night, I challenged myself to try something a little different. Since we’re heading out of town for my sister’s college graduation this weekend, I wanted to use up as much fresh produce as I could, which meant that dinner needed to include broccoli, zucchini, and spinach. We also had olives and feta, along with some whole wheat rigatoni. My mind immediately went to white beans, but unfortunately, we didn’t have any handy. We did, however, have pine nuts, so I threw in a small handful.

Within a short amount of time, I had a lovely pasta dish on the table that I will definitely be making again. I have to admit that adding some of the starchy pasta water when mixing everything together really does add a little something. I have to get back in the habit of doing that.

Ironically, I had a huge pot of marinara (made with almost 7 pounds of tomatoes) simmering on the back burner. That’s going in the freezer for future use…

Another thing I’ve been craving lately is pesto. Mark Bittman had a great recipe for asparagus pesto in the Times Dining section this week. I can’t wait to try it!

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