Column and photo by Lindsay Kucera/The AS Review

This recipe is one my mother started making a few years ago, and it has become a staple in our family since. It has just enough spice to warm you up on a cold winter day. It is a bit of a personal comfort food and though I am going home for break soon, I wanted to share it with you now. Spicy penne is easy to make, remarkably cost-effective and it makes a lot. In addition to the mushrooms, I also add roasted zucchini squash, but I can see most vegetables working well with this dish.

Cost: $11
Makes: 4-6 servings

1 pkg. Penne pasta
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 pound white mushrooms, chopped
1/4 pound Crimini mushrooms, chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 to 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
28-oz. can crushed tomatoes
1-1/2 teaspoons dried basil
salt to taste
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
freshly grated Parmesan cheese

In a large pot boil water, add a pinch of salt when at a rolling boil. Cook pasta as directed on the package for al dente. Drain the pasta and set aside. In a large skillet, heat olive oil on high heat. Add the mushrooms, minced garlic and red pepper; stir over medium heat until mushrooms are tender, about three minutes. Add in the crushed tomatoes, basil and salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the sauce is slightly reduced, about eight minutes. Add the pasta to the skillet and toss until coated. Garnish with fresh, crushed basil and Parmesan cheese.

Hey Mom, thanks for teaching me how to feed myself!