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By Dianne Bunis

Make dinner, not reservations…a healthy, plant-based dinner filled with heart loving vegetables and pure olive oil. Serve with a simple salad of mixed greens lightly dressed with lemon juice, and for dessert? Last week’s recipe – *Chocolate Date Almond Bars!

Valentine Pasta Primavera

Makes 2 servings

Ingredients

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

4 asparagus spears, rinsed and cut diagonal 2-inch pieces

2 medium vine-ripened tomatoes

1 (6 oz.) jar Pastene marinated artichoke hearts, drained

1 cup fresh baby spinach

1 cup spring water

2 tablespoons basil pesto (Mezzetta All Natural Homemade Style)

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Spring water

Flour City Pasta brand — Garlic Parsley Fettuccine (or other artisanal green fettuccine)

A chunk of fresh Parmesan cheese

Preparation

Bring a large pot of water to boil; add a pinch of salt; when water returns to a boil add pasta; stir to avoid sticking.

Meanwhile, in a skillet pan over medium heat, drizzle with (about 1 tablespoon) olive oil, add garlic, asparagus, tomatoes and artichoke hearts, stirring frequently for 8-10 minutes until tender. Add spinach and 1 cup of water to the pan, stir to wilt spinach. Stir in pesto to combine all ingredients, lower temperature and simmer on low covered for several minutes.

Cook pasta in boiling water until al dente (tender but firm), exactly the indicated time on the package; drain leaving some liquid with the pasta in pot.

Place one serving of pasta into skillet with tomato mixture, grab the handle of skillet to toss and mix the pasta. Using a fork, twirl pasta around and plate in the center of serving bowl, continue until you have finished with one serving then top with salt and pepper, finish with a grating of Parmesan cheese; repeat and plate next serving. Serve immediately.

*Gluten-free Chocolate Date Almond Bars (Feb. 6), please note ommission:

Add sunflower seeds along with other ingredients in food processor.

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