Filed Under: Pasta | Summer | Vegetables | Whole Wheat

Whole Wheat Pasta with Summer Veggie Sauce

Recipe By Tessa Arias
July 15th, 2010
The forecasted high temperature for tomorrow here in Phoenix is 116 F (if you don’t hear from me in the next few days its because I’ve spontaneously combusted). On days like tomorrow the last thing I want is to be slowed down by eating a big and overly filling meal. At the same time I don’t want to be left hungry or unsatisfied. That’s where this recipe comes in. Its full of vegetables and whole-wheat goodness that won’t weigh you down. Also, if you’re like me and don’t have many mouths to feed, this recipe is even better because it only serves 2. It can easily be doubled to serve 4, though.

On a side note, I didn’t have any carrots so I was forced to omit them when I made this dish. Luckily it turned out alright.

Recipe Rundown
Taste: Every ingredient compliments each other perfectly flavor-wise; sweet, spicy, acidic, bitter, fresh. Overall the dish is light and summery.
Texture: Crisp vegetables, al dente pasta, light yet velvety sauce, and perfectly wilted greens.

Ease: This recipe require a lot of prep work and steps but should still take less than 40 minutes.
Appearance: Most of the veggies are the same size as the pasta and present a rainbow of colors so it just looks healthy.
Cons: I wish this recipe were quicker but luckily most of the ingredients can be prepped ahead of time to make it an easy weeknight meal.
Pros: This pasta dish serves two people! Since most of the time I am cooking for myself and sometimes my boyfriend, meals that don’t waste food are perfect.
Would I make this again? Probably a version of it.

Whole Wheat Pasta with Summer Veggie Sauce
Adapted from Cooking for 2
Serves 2
Note: To make this recipe vegetarian, substitute low-sodium vegetable broth for the chicken broth. Yellow squash can be substituted for the zucchini.

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced 1/4 inch thick (see note)
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 carrot, peeled and grated 
  • 1 small onion, sliced thin
  • 1/2 medium red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut into 1/4 inch pieces
  • salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • 3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth (see note)
  • 1/4 pound whole-wheat rotini pasta or other curly shaped whole wheat pasta
  • 1 1/2 cups baby arugula
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • grated Parmesan cheese

1. Heat 1 teaspoon of the oil in a 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the zucchini and cook, stirring often, until well browned, about 3 minutes. Add the cherry tomatoes, toss to combine, and cook until slightly wilted, about 1 minute. Transfer to a large bowl.
2. Add 1 teaspoon more oil to the skillet and heat over medium heat until shimmering. Add the carrot, onion, bell pepper, and 1/8 teaspoon salt, cover, and cook until the vegetables have softened, 5-7 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and continue to cook until it begins to brown, about 1 minute. Stir in the garlic and pepper flakes, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the broth, scraping up any browned bits. Bring to a simmer and cook until slightly thickened, about 1 minute; cover and set aside.
3. Meanwhile, bring 4 quarts water to a boil in a large pot. Add the pasta and 1 tablespoon salt, and cook, stirring often, until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water, then drain the pasta and return it to the pot.
4. Add the sauteed zucchini-tomato mixture, broth mixture, arugula, basil, and remaining 1 teaspoon oil to the cooked pasta, and gently toss to combine. Cover and let sit off the heat until the vegetables are hot, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper to taste and adjust sauce consistency with the reserved cooking water as desired. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan and serve.

About Tessa...

I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

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  1. #
    Maria — July 15, 2010 at 3:42 am

    Perfect summer recipe. I love all of the veggies!

  2. #
    PastasticMatt — July 15, 2010 at 11:16 am

    I've just eaten and now I'm hungry again… pesky internet! 🙂

  3. #
    Christina @ Bon Appetit Beantown — July 15, 2010 at 12:58 pm

    Definitely a dish I'd feel good about eating 🙂

  4. #
    SugarCooking — July 15, 2010 at 1:16 pm

    Looks great! I love pasta with lots of vegetables!

  5. #
    megan — July 15, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    I'll be making this one! Great recipe 🙂

  6. #
    jane — July 18, 2010 at 3:03 am

    We winter in Scottsdale and often check your weather from here in Iowa…We are both sweltering this week. I love this recipe and will bookmark it to try soon! Stay cool!


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