pasta with zucchini, yellow squash, and spinach

This past fall my husband and I went to the Cleveland Clinic to be with my mother and stepfather while my stephfather had surgery. During his long surgery, we grabbed a bite to eat at a cafe in the waiting area. Lucky for us, it was pasta bar day! The chef took his job very seriously and enjoyed teaching everyone about the food dish he was creating for you. The pasta he created for us was superb; so, we were very eager to recreate this dish when we got home!

It’s simple, easy, nutritious and very tasty! When training for our marathons, my husband and I ate this the nights before our long runs and we ate it leading up to race day.

ingredients:

1 yellow squash, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
½ onion, diced
10 oz frozen spinach, thawed (about 1.5 c fresh)
1 jar pasta sauce of choice
5-10 oz whole wheat pasta (bowtie, fusilli or ziti)
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
2 t extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 t salt, or to taste
freshly ground pepper, to taste

directions:

Put on a large pot of water and boil for cooking pasta.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, squash, and zucchini to the pan; cook, stirring often until softened. Add spinach to pan; then add salt and pepper over vegetables. Clear a spot in the pan and add minced garlic; allow it to cook for 30 sec-1 minute before mixing in with the rest of the vegetables (adjust garlic based on your pasta sauce; if it has a lot, you might not desire much extra). Mix in pasta sauce and simmer.

Meanwhile, cook pasta until tender, 8-10 minutes or according to package directions. Drain and return to the pot. Add the vegetable mixture, toss to coat.

Note: I prefer more vegetables to pasta; so I use half of a package of pasta. If you prefer more pasta, use the entire 10 oz package. 

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