Pesto Pasta & Iowa’s Largest Frying Pan

Hello from Memphis!  Is it Friday yet?  No???  Shucks! 

I don’t know about you but I am in desperate need of a break.  I have been so busy with work and travel and….well, the house falling apart.  Ok…so it isn’t falling apart, we just needed a new air conditioner…AND a new furnace last week.  Did I mention that the pool was also un-usable!?  Apparently the “acid rain” we have been experiencing in Iowa is raking havoc on the pools!  Yes Sir….this all occurred last week…the HOTTEST week of the summer.  You’d think that if the air-conditioner went out for 4 days, we could still jump in the pool but oh no!  Bad timing at the Boudreau household.  Unfortunately, the icing on the cake was that Ryan was in Boston for work.  You got it….I was left at home to be the  “Man of the House”.  Luckily my mom came to visit and cheer me on.  I needed all the moral support I could get (let’s just say that I don’t do well on little sleep)!  I am still exhausted from warm, sleepless nights and a stressful, busy week of work…but I survived!  As I told my dad when I was about 12 yrs old, “I am woman!”.  LOL

As I mustered through the week, I realized I needed to slow down.  One day, as I was racing from Iowa City to Waterloo to Cedar Rapids and back to Iowa City I decided enough was enough.  For over 5 years I have travelled the highways of Iowa for work and noticed signs like, “Brandon Iowa, Home of Iowa’s Largest Frying Pan.  Exit Here.”  But I had never exited.  And come on…tell me you aren’t curious about Iowa’s Largest Frying Pan.  So that particular day…I exited.  After all, how big could Brandon, Iowa possibly be?  And if the frying pan is as big as they claim…well, then it should be pretty easy to find.  Now I can’t say I was overly excited when I pulled up to this monster of a frying pan, but I did laugh.  Really?  A huge frying pan?  I still don’t get it….but at least I stopped and humored myself.  It may have only been a 10 minute goofy break…but I needed it.  In case you are wondering, here it is:

Even after “slowing down” for a 10 minute break to admire a huge frying pan, I was still making executives (and expensive) decisions about the house, fixing the pool, jimmy-rigging the spliced internet wires in the basement, working full-time, and trying to “do-it-all.”  In the midst of what was seemingly chaos, I realized pretty quickly that I was going to have to skip some of my favorite meals and hours in the kitchen!  Instead…I took a lesson in “30 minute meals”.  No, I didn’t call up Racheal Ray, but I threw together a concoction of my own.

I decided to grab some of my homemade pesto, some tomatoes from my garden, and throw together a simple pesto pasta in a jiffy!  Simple but delicious!!


  • 1/2 Red Onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup Pine Nuts, toasted
  • 1 Pint Grape Tomatoes, halved
  • 2 Cloves of Garlic, minced
  • 3/4 Cup Pesto
  • 1/2 lb Penne Pasta
  • 2 Tbsp EVOO
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Romano, freshly grated
  • Grilled Chicken Breast, optional

First, start by preparing the penne pasta as directed on the box. 

While the noodles are boiling, sautee the vegetables.  In a large sautee pan, heat EVOO.  Add onion and garlic.  When onion is translucent, add grape tomatoes, pesto, and pine nuts.  Cook for ~5 minutes until tomatoes heat thru but are not overly soft. 

Season with salt and pepper.  Add additional EVOO and/or Pesto to taste.  For a heavier dish, add grilled chicken.

Strain pasta and add to the pesto sauce.  Toss until pasta is completely covered. 

Garnish with freshly grated romano cheese….and if you’ve had a really long day….


Consider pairing with a chilled glass of wine.  See…even fast dinners can be delicious.  🙂

Indulge.  In Life.  In Love.  In Food.

2 thoughts on “Pesto Pasta & Iowa’s Largest Frying Pan

  1. Pasta looks delicious, but I can’t stop laughing when I picture you “exiting” to see Iowa’s largest frying pan:)

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