Cooking with Dad and Barilla Pasta

Easily the most requested meals in our home are pasta dishes. The kids love spaghetti and meatballs, beef lasagne, chicken carbonara, tomato fusilli, and more. My youngest loves pasta so much we joke that he should have been born in Italy and call me mamma! As much as I enjoy pasta, I love it even more when someone else makes it. Actually that goes for all dinners. But, alas, until Gordon Ramsay decides to do all of his cooking shows from my kitchen, the dinner duties are mine.

Who’s cooking tonight?

Of course, there are other perfectly capable residents in this house. They are all blokes. My husband can cook, as can my two sons, but for some unspoken reason, the meal making falls to this very amateur chef. But if I can do it, anyone can!

So I set them a challenge: Cook a great pasta dish together, and mum doesn’t lift a finger. Thanks to Barilla, the men of the house pulled together a fantastic dish, worthy of any Italian’s dinner table. They could quite easily have done a tasty pasta dish with a handy packet of Barilla pasta, a jar of Barilla pasta sauce and a couple of extra ingredients, ie:

  1. Barilla Gluten Free Elbows, crispy bacon and grilled capsicums with a Ricotta Sauce
  2. Barilla Spaghetti, browned minced beef and onion with a Bolognese Sauce
  3. Barilla Fettucine, seasoned and chargrilled chicken breast and fresh baby spinach with a Pesto Genovese Sauce

Easy, peasy!
Barilla recipe 1

Pasta is on the menu

But, this was my chance for a night off from dinner duties, so I wasn’t letting them off quite that easy. Using Barilla recipes for inspiration, I adapted one to suit our tastebuds and made a few changes to include some of my personal dinner shortcuts (ie ready crushed garlic instead of cloves and canned chopped tomatoes).

The dish took little time to prepare, especially when the kids and their dad all worked together; chopping, peeling and weighing out ingredients; one stirring things on the oven, another prepping veggies and herbs. The kids were keen to jump on their favourite tasks – cutting up capsicum is always popular with my sweet veggie loving boys – I’m sure most of it made it into the dish! Dad got the worst jobs – chopping pumpkin is hard on the hands and the onion, well, he was the only one crying.

Chicken, tomato and pumpkin farfalle (serves 6)


  • 400g Barilla Farfalle pasta
  • 1 jar Barilla Bolognese sauce
  • 1 can of chopped tomatoes
  • 4 x Tegel chargrilled chicken steaks
  • 160g pumpkin, cut into 0.5cm cubes
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons of crushed garlic
  • A small bunch of basil, chopped
  • 1 x capsicum, deseeded and cut into 0.5cm cubes
  • 80g green peas
  • 8 cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 3 tablespoons Olive oil
  • 100g parmesan cheese, grated
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Salt, for pasta water


  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees (fan bake).
  2. Bake the chicken steaks in the oven for 25 minutes.
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large frying pan.
  4. Season the pumpkin, then saute in frying pan until tender.
  5. Add capsicum to the pan and cook for a further 3 minutes, then set pumpkin and capsicum aside.
  6. Bring plenty of salted water to the boil.
  7. Cook the Barilla Farfalle in water according to the instructions on the box, stirring occasionally.
  8. Heat 1 tbs olive oil in the pan and add onion, garlic and basil, stirring until the onion is translucent.
  9. Using kitchen scissors, cut the chicken steaks into bite-sized pieces and add to the frying pan along with the pumpkin, capsicum and peas. Add Barilla Bolognese sauce and can of chopped tomatoes and simmer until heated through.
  10. Drain the pasta when just cooked.
  11. Add the sauce to the pasta and mix gently.
  12. Mix in the cherry tomatoes and parmesan cheese.
  13. To serve, top with a little bit of chopped basil and grated parmesan.

Barilla recipe

Bellissimo! If you prefer a bit of a kick, pop in a finely chopped chilli pepper with the capsicum.

Now, who’s on dishes? Guys? Guys?!

This article was written by Julie Scanlon, Editor for Kidspot NZ.

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