This super easy Pasta Fresca Recipe is one of my new favorite pasta dishes. It's so easy and great for lunch or dinner. This dish is packed with vegetables and flavor.
With spring in full swing, I've been loving seasonal veggies at the grocery store. I picked up a ton of vegetables and created this fresh and delicious pasta Fresca recipe. I know you'll love it!
Each bite is packed with assorted vegetables and crumbled feta cheese. I used mini rigatoni for this, but you can use any pasta shape you like. I do recommend using a shorter pasta shape, as the pasta will be the same size as the vegetables and easier to eat.
You can add some protein to this recipe by adding sliced chicken breasts or Italian sausage.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
Here's why you'll love this healthy recipe.
- Easy - This pasta Fresca recipe is extremely easy and approachable for home cooks of all levels!
- Fast - This recipe is done in 20 minutes, making this great for busy families.
- Fresh - This dish is packed with a variety of vegetables, making this a great balanced addition to any meal.
Here are the ingredients you will need for this recipe:
- Pasta - You can use fresh pasta, but I used dried rigatoni pasta. You can also use whole wheat pasta if you'd like!
- Olive Oil - regular olive oil
- Shallot - sliced thinly. You can substitute red onions
- Mushrooms - sliced
- Black Pepper
- Garlic - minced
- Cherry tomatoes - sliced if half. You can also substitute Roma tomatoes
- Fresh Spinach
- Feta Cheese - you can also use parmesan cheese or mozzarella cheeses
- Fresh basil
Step by Step Directions
Let's make this recipe together!
Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water until al dente. When the pasta is done, reserve a cup of pasta water, drain the pasta, and set aside. You'll use the pasta water later.
While the pasta is cooking, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil, shallot, mushrooms, salt, and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes, until the shallots and mushrooms are golden brown.
A few notes about this step - you want to use regular olive oil since you'll be cooking it. Extra virgin olive oil should never be cooked, so stay with regular olive oil in this recipe.
Also - as you cook the shallot and mushrooms, you don't need to move them around the pan. Keeping them in one place will help get them golden and crispy. Yum!
Add the garlic and cherry tomatoes in the pan. Cook for a few more minutes, until the tomatoes start to wilt.
Add in pasta and spinach. Mix everything together, then add pasta water 1 tablespoon at a time until you have a 'saucy' consistency. If you want more of a sauce, you can add a bit of extra virgin olive oil when the pasta is removed from the heat.
Top pasta with crumbled feta cheese and fresh basil. Serve and enjoy!
Expert Tips and Tricks
Here are some expert tips and tricks for this easy recipe.
Double the Recipe - Make double and freeze some or box up in containers for meal prep throughout the week! This recipe is great for meal prepping and leftovers because it reheats really well and pairs with many different protein options.
Complete the Meal - Serve this with Italian chicken cutlets and a salad with balsamic vinaigrette for a whole meal inspired by Italian cuisine.
Here is some kitchen equipment you will need for this recipe. You can find all of these products on Amazon.
Large Skillet - Use a large skillet to make this dish so all of the pasta and vegetables fit in the same pan.
Pasta Pot - I use my pasta pot multiple times through the week. If you make pasta as much as I do, it's important to have a good quality pot.
Serving Bowl - I love using a big serving bowl for serving this dish. It's a beautiful centerpiece to any dinner table!
Here are some common recipe substitutions and variations for this easy recipe.
Add protein - Adding protein is a great way to bulk up this recipe. Grilled chicken or Italian chicken cutlets would be delicious with this recipe.
Substitute Veggies - You can add in any vegetables you have on hand to this recipe. Peppers, asparagus, and arugula are just a few that would be delicious.
Pasta Shape - You can use any pasta shape in this recipe. I used these mini Rigatoni and they were so good in the recipe!
Frequently Asked Questions
Pasta Fresca means fresh pasta. It can be referred to fresh, handmade pasta, or to pasta tossed with a variety of fresh vegetables.
Fresca means fresh. In cooking, cooking 'Fresca' means incorporating fresh ingredients. An example is Pasta Fresca, where pasta is tossed with fresh vegetables.
Recipe Storage and Reheating
Here are storage and reheating instructions for this recipe.
Refrigerator Storage: Store in an airtight continuer and eat leftovers within 4-5 days.
Freezer Storage: Freeze in a freezer-safe, airtight container and keep for up to 3 months. When you're ready to use, thaw in the refrigerator and reheat as instructed below.
Reheating Instructions: The best way to reheat this recipe is to heat in a skillet with a little olive oil over low heat until warm.
Other Recipes to Try
Check out some of our other delicious recipes!
- 1 lb Pasta
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 shallot sliced
- 1 cup mushrooms sliced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
- 2 cups Spinach
- 1 cup feta crumbled
- Fresh basil for serving
- Cook pasta in a large pot of salted, boiling water until al dente. When pasta is done, reserve one cup of pasta water, drain, and set aside.
- While pasta is cooking, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil, shallot, mushrooms, salt, and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes, until shallots and mushrooms are golden brown.
- Add garlic and cherry tomatoes to the pan. Cook for 3 minutes, until the tomatoes start to wilt.
- Add in pasta and spinach to the pan. Add in pasta water 1 tablespoon at a time until a sauce is created.
- Top with crumbled feta cheese and fresh basil and serve.