Tag Archives: penne

Seared Scallops and Penne in a Marsala Sun-Dried Tomato Cream Sauce

Thank goodness it’s back to the blog for me! I finally found the inspiration to get back to the kitchen (complete with a busted oven–>my mom found that out the hard way when she was trying to bake cookies and coffee cake) and continue informing you all about “greener” and a lot of the time healthier (not so much today) ways to cook.

Seared Scallops and Penne in a Marsala Sun-Dried TomatoCream Sauce

Serves 2

  • 1/2 box Whole Wheat Penne Pasta
  • 3 tbsp. Unsalted Butter
  • 10 large Scallops
  • 1/2 Shallot, minced
  • 1/4 cup Marsala
  • Pinch of Saffron Threads
  • 5 Sun-dried Tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
  • Basil, sliced, to taste
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • Optional: Parmiggiano-Reggiano, grated, to taste

For the sauce: Melt 1 tbsp. of the butter over medium heat. Add the shallot and saute until translucent. Add the Marsala and cook until reduced by half. Add the saffron, sun-dried tomatoes, and cream and lower to a simmer. Let simmer for about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile: cook the penne in a pot of boiling salted water. Melt the rest of the butter (2 tbsp.) in a pan and saute the scallops until lightly browned. Top pasta with sauce and scallops. Then add the basil and Parmiggiano-Reggiano (if used).


  1. Scallops come in many varieties and are an acceptable fish to eat, according to the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch List.
  2. Using organic heavy whipping cream means that the cow the cream came from is eating an organic diet: no pesticides are entering the water or permeating the ground since they are not used in organic farming!
  3. Basil is easily grown at home or found locally. Less food miles means less gas is being used to get the product to your table! Hooray for reducing your carbon footprint!
  4. Whole wheat pasta is better for you and the earth! It does not need as much refining as it’s bleached white alternative. Plus there are less chemicals used and sent into the environment.
  5. Check out the packaging you’re getting your pasta in as well. Many pastas now come in recyclable cardboard packaging.

Eco-Friendly Pasta

So… I love pasta. I think if I was forced to eat solely pasta for the rest of my life I would be totally content. So, I was skeptic to start researching this one… I didn’t want to find out that pasta was a huge contributor to greenhouse gases or something. For you guys, however, I put pasta to the eco-friendly test. Here’s what I found out:

Most pasta is vegan. As I’ve posted before, this is one really eco-friendly way to eat. Fresh pasta tends to have eggs in it, so if you’re really looking to “green” up your pasta, read the ingredients and try eating the pre-made whole-wheat Italian style pasta.

Further, according to The New York Times, one really easy way to “green” up your pasta is just by using less water to boil it in! Less water means less time to heat it up. Therefore, you’ll be saving water (a limited resource) and energy (less greenhouse gas emissions). Other ideas include Bon Appetite’s “boil once, use twice” which suggests boiling the water for your pasta and then turning the flame off and poaching shrimp as the water cools down.

Another easy way to make your pasta more eco-friendly is to make your own sauce! These taste so much better and you don’t get the packaging that comes with the sauces you buy in the market. It also allows you to use organic, local ingredients which, as I’ve stated (click here if you missed it), are really where it’s at environmentally speaking.

I’m also pro pasta over rice because rice is the number one most water-intensive crop. Since water is a finite resource this is a big deal. (More on that later–>I wrote a whole research paper on water so you definitely don’t want to get me started).

Anyways… here are some delicious pasta recipes for you to enjoy (just don’t forget to cook them in less water).

The Really Delicious College-Style Pasta

(By college style, I mean that since I have a midterm tomorrow I needed to throw this pasta together in a hurry)

  • 1 Roma Tomato
  • Asparagus
  • Olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar (or lemon if preferred–>just a little of either to add a little flavor)
  • Whole wheat Fusilli pasta
  • 1 garlic clove
  • salt and pepper to taste

Start your water boiling. Add pasta to the boiling water (keep covered). Chop the tomato and cut the asparagus into bite-size pieces. Mince the garlic clove.

When the pasta is done cooking, turn off the heat and remove it with a slotted spoon allowing the water to stay in the pot. Place the asparagus into the water and keep covered for 5 minutes. This will steam the asparagus (even though the heat is off there is still enough heat in the water). Drain the asparagus and add everything to the pasta.

A quick and easy eco-friendly version of pasta for lunch!

This is a quick and easy recipe that is fast to make. I used both energy-saving techniques: less water and boil once, use twice. You can use any vegetables you want, I just happened to have tomato and asparagus lying around. It was really a delicious lunch!

Artichoke Heart Tomato Pasta

  • Can of organic tomatoes
  • Three artichoke hearts
  • Feta cheese
  • Whole wheat Penne
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • Half of a yellow onion, chopped
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Start your water boiling and add the penne. While the penne cooks, place olive oil in a pan and saute the onion and garlic until the onion is translucent. Add the canned tomato, artichoke hearts, and spices. (I melted the cheese into the sauce, but you can also put the feta on top). Cook until it thickens up. Top the penne with the sauce and you have a delicious dinner!

Mmm... yummy whole wheat dinner!

Lessons Learned:

  • Using less water for pasta does not damage the quality and is way more environmentally friendly!
  • You can use the boil once, cook twice method to poach shrimp or blanch vegetables.
  • Pasta is normally vegan which means more environmentally friendly! –> Make sure to read the ingredients!