Pine Nut—Balsamic Vinaigrette

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon toasted pine nuts, crushed (or more, to taste)
1 teaspoon chopped cilantro
1 clove garlic, minced (or more, to taste)
salt and pepper to taste

Place all ingredients in a bowl and whisk thoroughly.

Mixed Greens

1/2 pound mixed greens
1 roasted red bell pepper, slivered
1/2 large red onion, thinly sliced
2 Roma tomatoes, quartered
Parmesan cheese, croutons, and calamata olives for garnish

Place greens in a bowl and toss with vinaigrette. Place greens on serving dish. In same bowl toss bell pepper, onion, and tomatoes and place on top of greens. Garnish with Parmesan, croutons, and olives.

Penne al Forno

8 ounces uncooked penne pasta
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
2 ounces shiitake mushrooms, sliced
2 ounces Portobello mushrooms, sliced
2 ounces button mushrooms, sliced
2 whole artichoke hearts, cut in eighths
1/2 medium yellow onion, sliced
1 red bell pepper, roasted and cut into slivers (may be purchased prepared in specialty food stores)
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon Italian parsley
3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
salt and pepper to taste
juice of one small lemon (approximately 2 teaspoons)
2 tablespoons butter
3 to 4 ounces fresh mozzarella, grated (approximately 1/3 to 1/2 cup)

Cook penne and set aside. Place oil in large oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat and sauté garlic and mushrooms for about 1 minute. Add artichoke hearts, onion, and bell pepper. Add wine, parsley, mint, salt, and pepper. Add lemon juice. Let reduce for about half a minute, then add butter. Toss penne into mix. To finish, sprinkle with mozzarella and briefly run under the broiler until cheese is just melted. Serve with salad. Serves 4.