Jun 25, 2010

Penne with Vegetable Ragout

Penne with a vegetable ragout that includes zucchini, fennel, red and yellow bell peppers and tomatoes!

I don’t know about everyone else, but this has been an exhausting week!! I’ve started a new and second job with Children’s Hospital here in Atlanta and know already that I’m going to love it! It’s a clinical research job like my other one but in a completely different medical field. So I spend over 10 hours a day now surrounding myself in some aspect of clinical research but I honestly can’t imagine myself doing anything else! However, this start of a new juggling act between jobs has certainly made rolling out of bed for my early morning run a bit more of a challenge and same goes for putting dinner together. Like I’ve said before, you’re exhausted at the end of the day and sometimes standing over a stove for an additional 30-45 minutes is not exactly the first thing that comes to mind when you walk in the door after a long day. BUT, for me that homemade meal is also essential. This penne with vegetable ragout is a great go-to meal when you’re tired, hungry, and just want some good food on a plate in front of you. There is no meat to cook but because of the abundance of vegetables involved, you still feel satisfied at the end of the meal.

Here’s what you need to make pasta for two, with leftovers!


  • 2 cups of dried penne pasta
  • olive oil
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1/2 large fennel bulb
  • 1/2 red bell pepper
  • 1/2 yellow bell pepper
  • about 20 grape tomatoes
  • 1/4 of an onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 tablespoon fresh thyme
  • fresh rosemary (the leaves from one twig)
  • 1/2 tablespoon freshly grated orange zest
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

As always with the pasta meals start by bringing a large pot of water to a boil and then add the penne pasta and let it cook for 10-12 minutes, or until it’s done. If the pasta cooks before your vegetable ragout is ready, just drain the pasta and add a touch of olive oil to the pasta so that the pasta doesn’t stick all together.

While you have your water starting to boil and the pasta cooking you can turn all your attention on your vegetable ragout. Add a little bit of olive oil to a large pan, at medium heat, and add the chopped onion, garlic, and fennel with a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Let these cook for about 4 minutes until your onion becomes translucent and the fennel begins to soften just a tad. You can then add the zucchini along with the fresh rosemary and cook for another 3 minutes. The peppers are added next but, reduce the heat to prevent the peppers from cooking so fast that they become limp and loose their flavor. Only let the added peppers cook for about 2-3 minutes and then add in the tomatoes, thyme, orange zest and balsamic vinegar. The orange zest kind of balances out the vinegar and all the other flavors you have going on in your pan. At this point you want things to cook just a little longer and you can add additional salt and pepper to taste.

Vegetable ragout: onion, garlic, fennel, zucchini, yellow and red pepper, grape tomatoes, orange zest and balsamic vinegar. YUM!

Once all the vegetables are added to the ragout, cover the pan and let it sit for a few moments. This lets all the flavors meld together! When you’re ready to serve, combine the vegetable ragout with the pasta, give it a quick toss and you’re ready to plate! You’ll be done in no time and sitting down to that plate of food that you first craved after a long day!

The best part about this meal is that you end up with a great leftovers! Jordan usually eats these for lunch the next day and this one works great because the night in the fridge allows the pasta and vegetables to soak in all the great herbs and flavors of this meal!


In general, I think pasta with a combination of vegetables is always a quick and delicious route to go when you’re exhausted from a long day of work but still craving the comfort from a homemade meal. Vegetables and pasta also allow for a wide variety of additional spices and sauces so you can take simple ingredients and create multiple meals. You can also always add a meat to this meal for an added punch of protein but without the meat you simply cut down on the cook time. So remember on those exhausting days that you can still make yourself a great, nutritious meal at the end of the day: just think pasta and veggies! You’ll be done in 20-30 minutes and you’ll feel better than you did when you walked in the door! So for now, that’s penne with vegetable ragout…in the shell of a nut!

Penne with vegetable ragout for two!

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