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From twinkling lights to shiny presents, the holidays bring us one of the most colorful times of the year. So why not serve a dish at your upcoming family dinner or celebration that mirrors the hues of the season?

My Penne Pasta Primavera recipe is bursting with color, and it’s easy enough for a child to make, yet hearty enough to satisfy even the biggest of appetites.

Life is sweet, so eat well and enjoy!

Chef Arturo Vargas



  • 1/2  cup  (1-inch) slices asparagus (about 2 ounces)
  • 6  ounces  uncooked penne pasta
  • 3  tablespoon  olive oil
  • 1  cup  chopped red  onion
  • 3  teaspoons  minced fresh garlic
  • 1 cup of  red bell pepper
  • 1/2  cup  of fresh zucchini
  • 2  cups  heirloom  tomatoes, halved ( optional regular big tomatoes)
  • 3/4  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/4  cup  chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4  cup  (1 ounce) shaved Parmesan cheese



  1. Cook for 2 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender.
  2. Remove vegetables from pan with a slotted spoon; place in a large bowl. Boil water and  add pasta; cook 10 minutes or until al dente.
  3. Drain and add to vegetable mixture.
  4. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
  5. Add 1 cup of onion, and sauté for 2 minutes. Add garlic and red bell pepper; sauté 3 minutes or until onion begins to brown. Add tomatoes; sauté 2 minutes.
  6. Combine all the veggies and reduce heat to medium.
  7. Add salt to pan; cook 1 minute or until sauce thickens, stirring constantly. Toss the veggies gently to coat.
  8. Sprinkle with basil and cheese. Serve immediately.



A native of Acapulco, Mexico, Chef Arturo Vargas is a respected health educator and owner of Northern California’s Taste for the Senses Catering. Arturo was formally trained in the culinary arts in Mexico. Prior to opening his catering company, he served as chef in some of San Francisco, California’s finest restaurants, and facilitated healthy cooking classes and workshops for organizations such as the University of California, Davis, the American Heart Association, and Whole Foods Market. His culinary expertise has been featured in several publications, including Sacramento Magazine, Luxe Life magazine and on

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