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Weekday dinner inspiration: Penne Genovese With White Beans and Pesto, and more

Mon | Fresh and healthy

Penne Genovese With White Beans and Pesto (recipe below) calls for homemade pesto, but sometimes big bunches of basil are difficult to find at bay area grocery stores. Look for them at farmers markets. If you can't find basil bundles, buy prepared pesto, which is a decent substitute though it doesn't really compare to the flavor of fresh.

Tues | Go fish

Sauteed Salmon With Tomato Smoosh is a great recipe to keep in mind when salmon is on sale. Saute fillets seasoned with salt and pepper in olive oil, about 4 minutes a side. Remove from skillet and add grape tomatoes, a bit of butter, fresh lemon juice and some drained capers to pan. When tomatoes go soft, dump the chunky sauce over the salmon and serve. Five-minute couscous on the side.

Wed | Rotisserie chicken

Chicken Tacos With Pineapple Salsa start with shredded rotisserie chicken heated through and loaded into soft tortillas. Garnish with grated Monterey Jack cheese, prepared fruit salsa, avocado slices and thinly sliced cabbage for crunch. A squeeze of fresh lime juice adds tang. Fresh chopped cilantro is optional. Serve with fresh fruit.

Thurs | Stuff it!

Brie-Ham Stuffed Baked Potato, courtesy of Food Network magazine, is a tasty and simple end-of-the-week meal. Serve it with a green salad. To start, you'll need four hot baked potatoes. Saute 8 ounces diced ham in olive oil until browned. Divide ham evenly and spoon into split baked potatoes, then top with thin slices of Brie cheese. Warm in a 400-degree oven to melt; top with chopped parsley and chives.

Fri | Treat yourself

How about something decadent tonight? Grill New York strip steaks and garnish with Maytag blue cheese crumbles. Make a Caesar salad with big crunchy croutons. Oh, what the heck, bake frozen steak fries too, and pour a class of old vine zinfandel.

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Penne Genovese With White Beans and Pesto

12 ounces whole wheat penne or rotini

1 1/2 cups packed fresh basil leaves

1 garlic clove

3 tablespoon water

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided use

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1 small onion (4 to 6 ounces), chopped

1 can (15 ounces) cannellini or other white beans, rinsed and drained

1 pint grape tomatoes, cut until quarters

Heat large covered sauce pot of salted water to boiling over high heat. Add pasta and cook as label directs.

Meanwhile, make pesto: In food processor with knife blade attached, blend basil, garlic, water, 2 tablespoons oil, salt and pepper until pureed, stopping processor occasionally and scraping bowl with rubber spatula. Add Parmesan; pulse to combine. Set aside.

In a 12-inch skillet, heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat until very hot; add onion and cook 5 to 7 minutes or until it begins to soften. Stir in beans and cook 5 minutes longer, stirring occasionally.

Reserve 1/4 cup pasta cooking water. Drain pasta and return to sauce pot; stir in bean mixture, pesto, tomatoes and reserved cooking water. Toss.

Serves 6 as a main dish.

Source: Comfort Food! by Good Housekeeping (2011)

Weekday dinner inspiration: Penne Genovese With White Beans and Pesto, and more 10/11/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 11, 2011 4:30am]
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