June 12, 2013 at 11:08 AM ET
My food blog, Sweet Potato Chronicles, was founded on the premise that if you get kids involved in the process of cooking—make it fun and engaging—then you're more likely to get them to eat the meal. Heck, you may even have a few less battles over the Brussels sprouts.
Enter: the pasta dinner. I have yet to meet a kid who hates pasta and needs an incentive to eat it. In fact, a lot of parents I know wish they could break their kids of their mac and cheese habit. (Do you think there's a support group for that?)
But pasta dinners that come from a garden instead of a box are always a good thing. This time of year, there's no shortage of healthy, seasonal ingredients. Tossed with your favorite noodle, you can make a delicious pasta dinner that comes together in the time it takes to stir-up one from a box. I swear.
Here are some of our favorite summer pasta recipes, starting with Lemon Linguini, perfect for anyone who has a hankering for a light-tasting, creamy meal.
1 lb. package of linguini or spaghetti
3 lemons, juiced (1 zested)
6 Tbsp. olive oil
1 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
handful of basil, washed and sliced into strips (chiffonade if you’re feeling fancy)
salt and pepper to taste
1. Cook pasta according to package instructions. Scoop out about a cup or two of the water before draining.
2. While the pasta is doing its thing: mix lemon juice, zest, oil and Parmesan in a bowl. It will make a pretty gloppy sauce.
3. Place the drained pasta back into pot. Pour that gloppy goodness over the pasta and toss well until the cheese melts and each strand of pasta is well coated. You can add a bit of cooking water if you need to loosen up your sauce. Toss in the basil and toss again.
4. Use tongs to grab up a the noodles and twirl them onto the plate. The latest issue of Bon Appetit—with the amazing ed Adam Rapoport newly at the helm—is full of great tips for elevating simple pasta dishes, like the twirling one I’ve just poached. Or you can look online at their great video demos. Sprinkle a little extra grated Parm over top at the table.
And here are four more quick and easy pastas to enjoy this summer!
Spelt Penne with Broccoli and Feta
A fast and creamy meal that delivers lots of vitamin C. Thank you, dear friend, broccoli.
Pumpkin and Sage Cannelloni
A dish that will appeal to kids and adults alike.
Makes getting your greens as easy as, well, the 15 minutes it will take you to prepare the dish. I believe that's easier than pie!
Pumpkin Mac and Cheese
A vitamin A-rich version of your kid's addiction.
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A version of this story originally appeared on iVillage.