Thursday, August 6, 2009

Summer Garden Veggie Pastas

There is one dish that my family can't get enough of: Pasta. Over the years, I have come up with some fun and delicious pasta recipes using fresh produce from my garden.

Pomodoro: This fresh and fun pasta sauce is one of my favorites to eat in the summer, especially when I can get fresh tomatoes from the garden still hot from the summer sun.

5-6 medium ripe tomatoes
1 Handful of fresh basil
1-2 cloves of garlic, crushed
olive oil

Finely chop the tomatoes and basil. Mix together with crushed garlic, salt, and a drizzle of olive oil. Allow to sit for 10-15 minutes for the flavors to blend. Serve over hot pasta topped with parmesan cheese.


My basil plants always get out of control this time of year. The answer? Pesto. This fun sauce can be served at room temperature over hot pasta, as a zesty sandwich spread, or as a pizza sauce. I have also added a tablespoon to tomato soup to liven it up. I like to make my pesto with walnuts instead of the traditional pine nut. But, you can use pine nuts if you prefer.

2 cups fresh basil firmly packed
2-4 cloves garlic
1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4-1/3 cup olive oil
salt to taste

Remove large stems from basil and make sure you have a full two cups without stems. Pack basil, garlic, Parmesan cheese and salt in a food processor. Turn on the food processor on high and blend while drizzling in the olive oil. Allow food processor to run until the pesto reaches a smooth consistency. Enjoy!

Tip: I have found that my pesto will stay good in the refrigerator for months. Just allow to come to room temperature before using.

Fired Pasta: This is a family favorite dish inspired by Noodles and Company pasta dishes. This fun pasta works best when fired in a wok, but a large frying pan will do as well.

1/2 medium yellow onion
1-2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tbls. olive oil
6 cups fresh cooked pasta. I have found that penne pasta works best for this.
2-3 cups fresh garden veggies and herds: fresh tomato, fresh basil, fresh oregano, summer squash, eggplant, green beans, peppers, broccoli, mushrooms, olives, or whatever sounds good to you.
1/2 to 1 cup marinara sauce

Heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and onion and saute until they are translucent and slightly brown. Add the veggies according to cooking time. Add fresh pasta to the pan with veggies that take about ten minutes to cook. Toss pasta frequently, but allowing the noodles to toast a little. When the vegetables are fully cooked, add some of your favorite marinara sauce and toss to just coat the noodles. Enjoy.

Variations: Instead of adding marinara sauce, try roasted red pepper sauce, red wine vinegar, white wine or champagne vinegar, balsamic vinegar, or cream. Cream is a good complement to marinara sauce. But, don't use cream with vinegar.

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