Simple Pasta and Vegetables and Salad

My grown son is now in his own condo and this collection of recipes I called, Dearest Michael were written when he was younger as you will see by my references, as a gift to him for this very moment.

Whether you read them for the story or the recipe, know that they were written as a tribute to the many people who have influenced my kitchen, my cooking and my notion of family.

My attempt at playing with a little video. This is just me talking about the recipe not the actual cooking of the recipe. Clearly I realized after that I shouldn't have done this vertically:) Baby steps...


For anyone who knows me, they know that my birthday brain is almost the entire month of my birthday.
March. AND the celebrations are coming to a close. Finally.

This year was a particularly spectacular birthday especially after the last 3 year shit show of hard to get togethers. I have been able to be with so many people I love and I know love me and there is nothing better than this.

As I wind down and head towards the last of the celebrations, I reflect on this last Wednesday evening with my wonderful son, my Aunt and my former husband. My mother and her husband had even sent me a check for my birthday and I splurged on a feast so in some ways they were part of the party too.

We shared a bottle of really expensive wine that I had purchased last year as a special treat from, (of course), Newport Wine Cellar. I write about this store so much, you may think I have stock in it at this point.

So we did all the fancy decanting, and letting it breathe etc and I poured. I don’t know if it was the combination of the most delightful gathering along with such delicious wine that made the wine taste so much more incredible, but like great food, a good meal, a major percentage has much to do with the overall experience, wouldn’t you agree?

I had done all of the prepping, and my son whipped up the meal for us. We sat around snacking on a ridiculous amount of appetizers from a combination of Blount in Warren, RI, and Andrade’s Catch in Bristol, along with homemade pasta and focaccia from Prica Farina. Full before the main course, but we kept going. Eating with people you love, eating to celebrate birthdays, successful raising of children, divorces that turned out just fine and friendly after it all and healthy bodies and happy lives deserves lots of joy-full food and birthday cake- Pistachio Cake as a matter of fact.

When I go shopping for good food, I always buy way too much. Prica Farina does this to me. Homemade pasta that is so light and delicious I just think I have to have it all! So after Weds evening’s Bucatini with Lobster, Scallops and Clams, I decided to head to just veggies the following night and make the salad I didn’t bother with after the carb fest with my family.

The meal I am sharing today was made the following evening with my partner, Michael. Spinach and mozzarella ravioli was the pasta I used, but you can use anything you want. Not everyone has the luxury of homemade pasta, and when I am not using that, I usually just head to a box of lentil pasta.

Do whatever you like that makes you happy. Life is short, eat the pasta. (And the bread and the cake and the butter and the wine:)

This recipe was created off the cuff as I was making my salad. I didn’t have any plans when I started, but as I chopped the tomatoes and shallots and anise, I thought, mmm this would be good roasted with some olive oil garlic and mixed with some lemon and white wine on the stove to our over the pasta.

What is great about this recipe is that if you made my Israeli Pesto and Castaldi’s Salad Dressing, you basically just need to get the veggies in the bowl for the salad, get the other 1/2 of veggies on a roasting pan in the oven and you are ready to go.

I am already looking forward to next year’s birthday.
I Love You. Love Mom

*Because I make some product recommendations in my blogs, I may get a small commission as an affiliate and or an Amazon affiliate. Anything I recommend I personally use. I want to make it easier to shop for items you may not have, need to replace-- or if you are a lover of all things kitchen like me, just want to add to your collection.

Simple Pasta and Vegetables and Salad

This recipe was created off the cuff as I was making my salad. I didn’t have any plans when I started, but as I chopped the tomatoes and shallots and anise, I thought, mmm this would be good roasted with some olive oil garlic and mixed with some lemon and white wine on the stove to our over the pasta. And this is the glorious bottle of special wine I bought and we drank to celebrate too.


smiling woman with glasses holding a bottle of wine and a glass of wine
Prep Time: About 30 minutes total.



  • Lettuce
  • 1/4 bulb chopped fennel
  • 2 cucumbers diced, peeled if you want
  • 3 small Campari or a few cherry tomatoes chopped
  • Castaldi’s Salad Dressing

Toss well.


Preheat oven to 375

  • 3/4 remaining Bulb fennel chopped well
  • 6-8 Campari tomatoes chopped in quarters (or the remaining pint of cherry tomatoes left over from the salad)
  • 1 heaping T of Israeli Pesto (or 4-6 garlic cloves chopped and some herb you like. I love cilantro or parsley or both)
  • 1-2 shallots chopped fine
  • Add to roasting pan with an easy clean up parchment paper underneath them and mix with a generous pour of Olive oil.
  • Roast until soft about 15 -20 minutes, golden, not brown.
  • Take out and set aside.

Heat water in pan and prepare whatever pasta you have decided on.


  • 3 T Olive Oil
  • 2 T Butter
  • Shake of crushed red pepper and a shake of salt
  • 3/4 c good dry white wine, whatever you are drinking alongside of this meal.
  • The juice of one lemon
  • A few grinds of black pepper
  • 1/4-1/2 cup freshly grated parm cheese


  • Roasting Pan for Vegetables
  • Parchment paper
  • A nice Salad bowl
  • A large cast iron pan to saute the greens and a happy wooden spoon that gives you joy
  • Pretty pasta bowls
  • Cloth Napkins


Large Cast Iron pan to house the sauce and eventually the pasta.
  • Heat 3 T of olive oil over medium heat.
  • Add a shake of crushed red pepper and a shake of salt
  • Add roasted vegetables and saute for about 3 minutes
  • Add 3/4 cup of good dry white wine and let cook until everything is blended and fragrant for about 7 minutes or so.
  • Add a squeeze of a whole lemon
  • Simmer for about 3 minutes.

    Drain the pasta and add to the mix mix around a bit and pour into pasta bowls. Sprinkle with some more cheese and a few more grinds of fresh pepper.
    Serve with the salad and if you were lucky enough to get some fresh focaccia at Prica Farina, breathe deep and feel the joy.

bowl of salad and chopped vegetables on cutting board next to box of pasta showing ravioli
roasted vegetables on parchment paper

The bowl of salad and the soon to be roasted vegetables chopped and waiting, next to the most stunning Prica Farina ravioli. The roasted vegetables as they come out of the oven.


This salad bowl got my attention. I wish I needed one, I would buy this promptly, I love the smart easy to clean inside and it is so damn happy!

Wide white simple pasta bowls are what I love, then the meal doesn't compete with the inside color.

An affordable and delicious Olive oil from Portugal. If you are close to Bristol, RI Seabra, you can go in and purchase. It is usually less than $10.00 and delicious. This is on Amazon and really way more expensive than you should spend, but I just wanted you to see what the can looks like. My friend, Denise over at C+R Mercantile sells some lovely Olive Oil, as does Maria at the Newport Wine Cellar.


  • OPTIONAL: If you want to add a pint of chopped clams, shrimp or cod —even a can of white beans drained (or everything)- add here and simmer for about 7-8 minutes or until fish is cooked.
  • Sometimes I find cloves of garlic already peeled and in a container. Seabra has them in the produce section. I know the garlic purists are horrified at this, but I love the ease of pouring out already peeled and easy cloves!

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