Pasta Fresca

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4.5 from 2 reviews

This easy 15 minute pasta fresca tastes just like the beloved dish from Noodles and Company, but you can make it right in your very own kitchen! It's made with fresh, simple ingredients and can easily be customized to suit your family's taste for a quick weeknight dinner.


Units Scale
  • 1 lb. penne pasta, cooked al dente
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil + more for tossing pasta
  • 1/2 small red onion, sliced
  • 8 oz. baby Bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
  • 3.5 oz. jar capers, drained
  • 4 cups fresh baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream, optional
  • Kosher salt
  • fresh cracked pepper
  • 1/2 cup shaved Parmesan cheese, for serving
  • fresh chopped parsley, for serving


  1. Cook pasta until al dente. Toss in olive oil.
  2. Heat oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat.
  3. Add onion and mushroom along with a couple large pinches of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally for about 3 minutes.
  4. Add garlic and Italian seasoning and cook for another minute, stirring frequently.
  5. Add balsamic vinegar, tomatoes, capers, and a couple pinches of salt and pepper.
  6. Bring to a gentle simmer, reduce heat to medium low and simmer for about 3 minutes.
  7. Stir in spinach until it wilts.
  8. Add cooked pasta to the pan and toss to coat. Cook for a couple minutes until warmed through.
  9. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with parsley and Parmesan cheese and enjoy!



  • Salt your pasta water! I recommend adding about 2-4 tablespoons of Kosher salt to the pot of boiling water just before adding the pasta. This is your first chance to season the pasta and will add a ton of flavor to the overall dish. Don't worry, most of the salt goes down the drain with the pasta water so your meal won't be high in sodium.
  • Make sure you keep the pasta al dente. Because the pasta will cook with the sauce for a couple minutes, it's important not to cook it past al dente or it may get mushy.
  • Feel free to add your favorite protein to this dish! Leftover grilled chicken, Italian sausage, or even sliced steak would be a delicious addition to this simple pasta.