Brown Rice Pasta Primavera With Basil-Pinenut-Pecorino Pesto

Brown Rice Pasta Primavera

Brown Rice Pasta Primavera


This weekend was our housewarming party, and I was so excited to have a dining room where I could put the extra leaves in the dining table and lay out a good spread!  (Not to mention have enough room for guests to mingle!)  We had black bean & corn salad, a beautiful bowl of grapes and pomegranates from the farmers’ market, a crudité of multi-colored young carrots & peppers with hummus from the deli, fresh pico de gallo made from the last ripe tomatoes of the season, an antipasto platter with prosciutto, sopressata salami and roasted vegetables & olives, three different goat’s milk and sheep’s milk cheeses, and various goodies from the gluten-free bakery.  It was lovely, and the table was all decked out with flowers and candles, but I was so excited I forgot to take a picture of it.  Luckily we had lots of leftovers and we’ve been munching ever since.


I was tired the next evening, so I decided to make pasta for dinner with the leftover roasted vegetables (peppers, tomatoes, and artichokes) and a nice bunch of basil I got at the farmers’ market.  I make brown rice pasta primavera (pasta with fresh vegetables) often, usually with some fresh pesto and whatever vegetables I have left in my drawer.  It’s an easy meal for when I want something fast and need to be creative with what’s left in the fridge.  It takes about 20 minutes to prepare; just start a pot of water boiling while chopping up the veggies and making the pesto.


Fresh Basil Pesto With Pinenuts & Pecorino


1 small bunch fresh basil leaves

1/4 cup pinenuts

3-4 cloves garlic

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

squeeze of fresh lemon

pinch of salt

(optional) grated pecorino cheese (made from sheep’s milk, similar to parmesan)


Place all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth.  Use as needed and refrigerate or freeze the rest.  The basil may turn brown when stored, but it is usually good for 3-4 days in the refrigerator so you can use it for another recipe.


Brown Rice Pasta Primavera


4 oz. brown rice fusilli or penne pasta

2-3 T olive oil

1 cippolini onion

1/4 cup pesto

fresh vegetables of your choice (zucchini, broccoli, spinach, etc.) and/or

roasted vegetables like eggplant, red peppers, artichokes or

sun-dried tomatoes

8-10 chopped kalamata olives

sea salt & fresh cracked pepper to taste

(optional) freshly grated pecorino cheese


Bring a pot of water to a boil, add the pasta and after boiling for 2-3 minutes, cover and turn off the heat.  Let it sit for 15-20 minutes while you prepare the pesto and chop the vegetables.  (This is the energy-saving method of cooking pasta and the timing works well with preparing the rest of the meal, plus you don’t have to worry about the pasta boiling over every two minutes.) 


Heat the olive oil in a large skillet.  Saute the onions until translucent.  Add the dried tomatoes (if using) and all the fresh vegetables, except for greens like spinach, and saute until tender, adding a splash of water (or white wine) as needed to keep them from sticking to the pan.  When the vegetables are tender, add any greens (spinach) and roasted veggies you are using, the olives, and the pesto.  Cook until the greens wilt and the pesto is fragrant.  Remove from heat, drain the pasta and toss it with the vegetables.  Season with salt & pepper to taste and top with freshly grated sheep’s milk pecorino cheese, if you can.  Even without, the flavors are really intense.  Especially the combination of the garlic & basil in the pesto with the kalamata olives and roasted peppers and tomatoes.  You will find that a higher ratio of vegetables to pasta is also desirable and easier to digest.  Enjoy it with a nice glass of dry white wine or medium-bodied red wine.  My husband and I finished off a bottle of Sangiovese left over from the party, the smooth flavors of which nicely complemented the pasta. 


Serves 2.

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