6/27/2012

summer vegetable pasta

Yum

As I've said before, one of my favorite things about New Jersey in the summertime is the endless amount of farm stands you pass by on any given country road. Fresh corn, peaches, berries by the basketful (including the opportunity to pick them yourself!), and one of my favorites, vine-ripened tomatoes.

Tomatoes get an iffy response from a lot of people. They'll pick them off their sandwiches, out of their salads, or make a face when they pass by a tray full of colorful heirlooms. To that and them I say, CRAZINESS. Tomatoes, lycopene-rich and full of vitamin C, these summer beauties are a nutritional powerhouse and can be packed with amazing flavor. If you've only experienced a pinkish, mealy, mushy variety, trust me: you don't know what you're missing.



While we were originally inspired by this recipe from the wonderful July issue of Whole Living, we diverged in several senses: This recipe keeps the "sauce" raw, letting the tomatoes merely rest for an hour rather than simmering or sautéing them. (We cooked them slightly, along with the yellow summer squash, which we added.) We also used a regular whole wheat spaghetti rather than farro pasta, though I am interested to try an ancient grain-based pasta!


Our version of this easy, summer dinner (who wants to spend long hours in the kitchen when there's still daylight at 8pm?!) starts with cooking your pasta according to the instructions. Any pasta shape will do!

While the pasta cooks, in a separate pan combine the olive oil and garlic until fragrant, then add the thinly sliced yellow squash (zucchini would also be good!), stirring frequently.


Next add in the tomatoes, about four medium-sized ones, roughly chopped. (A good trick is to chop your tomatoes first, slightly salt them and set them aside until needed. The salt not only enhances the flavor, but draws out some or most of the liquid, making them easier to cook with!) Next, stir in the almonds for some added crunch. (Note: the original recipe calls for blanched Marcona almonds. While delicious, this variety is often harder to find in your normal grocery store.)


By the time your pasta is ready to be drained, your super simple sauce of sautéed summer vegetables should be ready! Serve immediately and top with fresh basil (fresh from cute Colin's garden!), chopped or whole, whichever you prefer. We chopped!

The freshness of the vegetables made this otherwise simple dish SUPER flavorful. Definitely one to try again, with any variety of seasonal add-ins!