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Pasta dishes can help add comfort to the autumn season

October is National Pasta Month.
Cooked pasta combines well with most vegetables and salad dressings. Make a quick pasta salad using a precut bagged salad mix and add leftover meat or canned tuna or salmon.

WESTERN PRODUCER — If you love pasta this is your time of the year because October is National Pasta Month, Oct. 17 is National Pasta Day and Oct. 25 is World Pasta Day.

But who needs an excuse to enjoy pasta? Just indulge in your favorite pasta dish, try a new pasta recipe, or host a pasta dinner party.

Pasta with broccoli

  • 1 lb. fusilli or any medium size pasta 500 g
  • 1/2 tsp. salt .5 mL
  • 3 c. broccoli,cut into florets 750 mL
  • 1/2 c. green peas 125 mL (optional)
  • 2 tbsp. water 30 mL
  • 4 tsp. canola oil 20 mL
  • 1 c. mushrooms,sliced 250 mL
  • 1/2 red pepper (optional)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 2 tbsp. Parmesan cheese, grated 6 g
  • freshly ground black pepper

Prepare broccoli by washing and cutting into florets. Peel skin from stalks, cut stalks into small pieces, set aside.

Bring large pot of water to a boil. Add salt and pasta to water and cook until pasta is al dente.

While pasta cooks, place water, broccoli and green peas, if using, in a skillet, cover with a lid and steam for two minutes. Remove vegetables and set aside.

In same skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add mushrooms and red pepper, gently sauté for two to three minutes, add garlic and sauté until garlic is soft, stirring continually, be careful not to burn. Add broccoli, peas and pepper to mushroom garlic mixture.

As soon as pasta is done, drain it quickly, reserving some of the liquid. Add pasta to vegetables and toss together, adjust seasoning and add parmesan. Add reserved pasta liquid if needed.

Serve immediately. Adapted from:

Quick pasta salad meal

I was using up leftovers one day and created this quick meal pasta salad. Half or quarter the recipe for one or two servings. Serves four.

  • 1 Broccoli Crunch Chopped Salad Kit, with broccoli florets and chopped stems, sunflower seeds, dried cranberries, cooked bacon and sweet coleslaw dressing
  • 1 c. chopped cooked chicken, drained canned tuna or salmon 250 mL
  • 2 c. any type of small, cooked pasta 500 mL

Prepare salad as directed on package, add chicken or fish and pasta, toss to combine. Chill in refrigerator for up to an hour or serve immediately.

Baked feta pasta

This baked feta pasta has become popular on many internet sites. This recipe is my adaptation from several. It is easy, tasty and will soon become a family favourite. It is also a good recipe to use up the little garden tomatoes. Makes four servings.

  • 2 c. cherry tomatoes 500 mL
  • 2 garlic cloves, halved
  • 1/2 c. canola oil 125 mL
  • 4 oz. block feta cheese 125 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt 2 mL
  • 1/8 tsp. coarsely groundpepper .5 mL
  • 1 – 16 oz. package rigatoni or other short pasta 500 g
  • 1 tbsp. salt 15 mL
  • 4 oz. fresh spinach, roughly chopped, optional 125 gpinch crushed red pepper flakes, optional
  • 2 tbsp. fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced 30 mL
  • 2 tbsp. fresh parsley,minced 30 mL
  • flaky sea salt,for serving

Preheat oven to 400 F (200 C).

In a 13 x 9-in. (22 x 33 cm) baking dish, combine tomatoes, garlic and one-quarter cup (60 mL) oil. Place block of feta in centre, move tomatoes so cheese sits on bottom of baking dish. Drizzle feta with remaining oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Bake until tomato skins start to split, and garlic has softened, 30-40 minutes.

Raise oven temperature to 450 F (230 C) and continue to cook until tomatoes and feta are golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes more.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat, add salt and pasta to water and cook until al dente, see pasta package for cooking time.

When pasta is cooked add spinach to pasta, the spinach should wilt almost instantly.

Reserve one-half cup (125 mL) of cooking water, then thoroughly drain pasta and spinach.

As soon as tomatoes and feta come out of oven, stir in red pepper flakes (if using). Use back of a spoon to smash tomatoes and feta into a smooth and creamy sauce (it’s OK if some oil isn’t fully integrated).

Add drained pasta and spinach and half of basil, toss until evenly coated. If sauce is too thick, stir in some pasta water a couple tablespoons at a time. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve topped with remaining basil, parsley and a pinch of sea salt.


Use whatever pasta you have — rigatoni, rotini, penne, bow tie, macaroni or cavatappi are great options.

Add in some cooked meat such as chicken, ground beef or ground turkey, just before serving.

Rather than spinach use asparagus, broccoli, or zucchini; cooking time will vary.

For a lower carb version serve with zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash.

With the passing of Queen Elizabeth II many memories flooded my mind. My nanny, paternal grandmother, was born in England and was a great royal supporter. Whenever the Queen or any of her family visited Canada, the tour was closely watched and if possible, we went to see the parade. The Queen’s message on Christmas Day stopped the present opening and dinner preparations so we could all listen.

My older brother, George, recalled that our dad purchased our first TV so we could watch the Queen’s coronation.

As a child, I remember my mother often making a date and nut cake. I particularly loved the crunchy, sweet-broiled coconut icing that topped it. After some digging, I foUnd the recipe in an old recipe box.

It is titled Queen Elizabeth’s Favourite Cake; I have no proof for this statement, though.

As with many recipes, the origin is not well-documented. The Queen Elizabeth cake recipe was published in Canada in 1953. It appeared in the Coronation Cookbook, as well in Chatelaine’s 363 Home Tested Recipes” (p. 35) and in Chatelaine that year, to commemorate the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. The Chatelaine recipe is slightly different than the recipe I have.

Some believe that the cake was invented to honour Queen Elizabeth (the queen mother) and King George VI for the celebration of their coronation in 1937. However, it is uncertain when or where it was first served. Source:

Queen Elizabeth Cake

Servings: 12.

Bake in a 9 x 13-inch (22 x 33 cm) cake pan or 1 – 8-inch (20 cm) round pan and 6 muffin cups.

  • 1 c. boiling water 250 mL
  • 1-375 g pkg dates, pitted and chopped
  • 1/4 c. butter, softened 60 mL
  • 1 c. white sugar 250 mL
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla 5 mL
  • 1 1/2 c. all-purpose flouror whole wheatflour 375 mL
  • 1 tsp. baking soda 5 mL
  • 1 tsp. baking powder 5 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. salt 2 mL
  • 1/2 c. walnuts or pecans, chopped 125 mL


  • 1 c. coconut,shredded 250 mL
  • 2/3 c. brown sugar,packed 150 mL
  • 6 tbsp. butter 90 mL
  • 1/4 c. cream 60 mL

Grease cake pan and line with parchment paper if wanting to lift cake from pan for serving.

Pour boiling water over dates in a small bowl, let stand until cool.

Cream butter and sugar together in a mixing bowl, beat in egg and vanilla.

Measure flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and nuts into a bowl. Stir to mix.

Add flour mixture to creamed mixture in three parts alternately with date mixture in two parts, beginning and ending with dry mixture. Spread batter into prepared pan.

Bake at 350 F (175 C) for 30 to 40 minutes, cupcakes 25 minutes, or until an inserted wooden pick comes out clean.


Mix coconut, brown sugar, butter and cream in a small saucepan over medium heat. Boil for three minutes. Spread over warm cake, place under broiler just until topping is starting to turn golden.

This cake keeps well at room temperature for several days or freeze for later use.

Betty Ann Deobald is a home economist from Rosetown, Sask., and a member of Team Resources. Contact: