Whole-Wheat Pasta Shells with Spicy Tomato Pesto and Winter Greens

wholewheat-pasta-shells Beatriz Dacosta


  • Pesto:
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, packed without oil
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Greens:
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 3 cups trimmed Swiss chard, sliced into 1/2-inch strips
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • Pasta:
  • 8 cups hot cooked (about 4 cups uncooked) whole-wheat pasta shells
  • 4 teaspoons grated fresh Parmesan cheese


  1. To prepare pesto, combine boiling water and sun-dried tomatoes in a bowl; let stand 30 minutes or until soft. Drain tomatoes in a colander over a bowl, reserving 1/2 cup liquid.

  2. Drop tomatoes, almonds, cheese, basil, and garlic through food chute with food processor on; process until minced. Keeping processor on, add salt and red pepper. Slowly pour 1 1/2 tablespoons oil through food chute; process until well-blended, scraping sides. Add reserved soaking liquid 1 tablespoon at a time until mixture appears smooth. Set aside.

  3. To prepare greens, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion; cook 10 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring frequently. Add Swiss chard; stir-fry 1 minute or until leaves turn bright green. Add water, salt, and pepper; cover and cook 2 minutes.

  4. Combine pesto and hot cooked pasta in a large bowl; toss well. Add greens mixture; toss well. Sprinkle with Parmesan.

    Whole-wheat pastas have a firmer, chewier texture than white-flour pastas, and a robust flavor that stands up well to strong-flavored olive oil-based sauces or pestos. Making homemade pesto isn't as involved as many people think. You can pick and choose your ingredients and keep unhealthy fat to a minimum with olive oil and fat-free cheese.
  • Yield: Serves 5 (serving size: 2 cups)

Nutritional Information

Calories per serving: 355
Caloriesfromfat per serving: 30%
Fat per serving: 12.4g
Saturated fat per serving: 2.6g
Monounsaturated fat per serving: 7.1g
Polyunsaturated fat per serving: 1.6g
Protein per serving: 14.3g
Carbohydrate per serving: 51.9g
Fiber per serving: 6.6g
Cholesterol per serving: 5mg
Iron per serving: 2.9mg
Sodium per serving: 608mg
Calcium per serving: 147mg

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