Recipe: Pasta Stir-Fry with Pesto

I have always loved to make Pasta Stir-Fry recipes… over the years I have used a wide variety of ingredients and sauces… and all of them were good… I honestly can’t remember one that didn’t turn out delicious.

For a little background on how I started making these Pasta Stir-Fries… I worked at a large company for many years that had their own building… on the lower floor was a huge cafeteria… run by the Marriott… it was truly a wonderful cafeteria… large by any standards… with hot and cold foods… sandwiches… salad bar… a grill… dessert bar… soups… you name it… they had it… and they always had daily specials… it was the specials that opened a whole new world of possibilities for me…

Occasionally they would have a Pasta Stir-Fry Day… they had a large variety of ingredients to choose from and usually three sauces to pick from as well… you told the chef what you wanted and he tossed it in a sauté pan and made it to order… it was terrific.

Many of my Pasta Stir-Fry recipes came from their combinations… I loved making them… they were quick and easy… and I could prep the ingredients in advance … so when we would get home from work … all I had to do was re-heat the pasta and meat a bit and quickly sauté it all together. It was a great way to use up leftovers… especially meat and vegetable leftovers that weren’t enough by themselves… but cut-up and thrown into pasta dish.. they were perfect… even small amounts of leftover sauces worked well… it truly stretched my food and lowered my grocery bill.

Today’s Pasta Stir-Fry recipe uses fresh produce that looked especially good at the market this week….asparagus, mushrooms, Plum (Roma) tomatoes, thinly sliced baby zucchini and some jarred roasted red peppers for a little perk on the taste buds…. The sauce is simply basil pesto… I bought it this time… but you can make your own pesto easily… I posted a recipe for Basil Pesto a while back…


For the pasta … I used rotini (spirals)… you can use bow ties or penne… or whatever you have for leftovers or in your pantry. To save money… I buy certain types of pasta that I frequently use, in larger quantities, and store them in airtight jars…

This recipe calls for 3 cups of dried pasta… usually you get about 5 cups of dried pasta to a pound…

Grilled chicken would also go well with this Stir-Fry… if you don’t want to grill the chicken yourself… you can use Rotisserie Chicken that you purchase at the store.

Make sure you don’t over-cook the asparagus or it will get soft and mushy… I just zapped it in the micro for about a minute to cook it a little before tossing it in the stir-fry…. Time cooking depends on how crispy you like your vegetables…. I also kept the asparagus out and stir–fried the other ingredients …even adding the pesto in… then as I was dumping the stir fry onto a platter I tossed in the asparagus so the tips wouldn’t break.

I used 2 tablespoons garlic olive oil to stir-fry the pasta and vegetables… if you don’t have it on hand you can use olive oil and add about 1 teaspoon garlic powder sprinkled over the ingredients….

I do recommend flavored olive oils… especially roasted garlic olive oil… I use it constantly… to cook with… in salad dressings and for dipping bread in… it is well worth it.

The quantities in this recipe make about 4 large servings or 6 smaller servings… I served it with garlic bread and a small salad… if you need more or less servings… simply adjust the quantities… use your judgment.

I hope you enjoy this delicious meal!

Recipe: Pasta Stir-Fry with Pesto

All you need:

3 cups dried Rotini
1 small zucchini, thinly sliced
2 Plum tomatoes, chopped
1 (8 oz.) pkg. fresh mushrooms, sliced
About a dozen fresh asparagus tips
2 tablespoons garlic olive oil
½ cup jarred roasted red pepper strips
4 heaping tablespoons basil pesto
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided

All you need to do:

Cook pasta according to package instruction for al dente (about 8 minutes depending on the brand).

Drain the pasta and set aside.

Place asparagus tips in a small microwaveable dish, add a tablespoon of water and microwave on high for 1-2 minutes until desired tenderness. Set aside.

Assemble all ingredients.

Add the garlic olive oil to a large skillet and heat over medium heat.

Add the zucchini and mushrooms and toss in oil and cook for about 3 minutes.

Add the pasta, roasted red pepper strips and tomatoes.

Cook and toss for about 2 minutes… then add the pesto.

Stir to completely coat the stir fry with the pesto.

Sprinkle with ¼ cup grated parmesan and mix well.

Carefully remove about half the stir-fry to a large platter.

Spread half the asparagus tips over the pasta mixture… then add the rest of the pasta mixture.

Spread the remaining asparagus tips over the pasta.

Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese.

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