Autumn Penne Pasta

Autumn Pasta with Portobello Mushrooms and Butternut Squash

This year I had the pleasure of participating to the New York City Wine and Food Festival with a very special brand, Victoria Fine Foods. To celebrate the launch of their Organic Line, they asked me to demo two recipes featuring their tomato sauce.  Before I tell you about the demo and the recipe, let’s talk about Victoria Fine Foods. The brand was born in 1929 in Brooklyn from an Italian family that wanted to prepare their own tomato sauce for the winter. My grandmother used to do the same and she would have all the family help in this “little” project, so I can relate to the story of the family tradition because I have witnessed it in my own family.  The tomato sauce is kettle cooked and then jarred, but the most important part (as always) is the ingredients. Victoria only used 5 or 6 ingredients and they are all on the front label of the jar. The respect and pride for the ingredients is really something that resonates with me. I take pride in cooking with the freshest and most natural ingredients and before trying Victoria Tomato Sauce, i never felt comfortable buying prepared sauces because I really don’t know what goes in it. Often it’s tomato concentrate and citric acid, other times it’s preservatives and I really don’t want to have anything to do with that. And now for the taste… let’s just say that the Victoria sauces I have tried were as good if not better than the ones I make at home.  Baby Lemonade likes the marinara as much as she likes the one I make, and that I believe is the best and most accurate taste test of all.

The recipe below was developed by Victoria Fine Foods Kitchen and tweaked a little bit by me (by adding copious amounts of parmigiano, of course).



Yields 4 entree servings

  • 1 pound penne pasta
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup portobello mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 cup butternut squash,  diced & roasted
  • 1 Jar Victoria Organic Tomato Herb Sauce
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup parmigiano, grated
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add penne pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or to al dente. Preserve 1/2 cup of cooking water. Drain the pasta and set a side.
  2. Heat large skillet over medium heat, add oil and swirl to coat bottom of skillet. Saute’ portobello mushrooms for about 4 minutes; add roasted butternut squash to the mushroom mixture cook for 1 minute.
  3. Add Victoria Tomato Herb sauce to pan, bring to boil.  Add the cooked penne pasta and gently toss.  If necessary add some starchy cooking water. Add the parsley and parmigiano to pan, gently toss. Serve hot.