Pasta l’estate

Summer pasta

Pasta l'estate

If you know me at all you know that Thursday is pasta night at our house.  It was that way from the time I can remember and it is something I try to carry on.  Of course, growing up it was most often just macaroni in red sauce/gravy with meatballs and sausage.

We’ve certainly expanded the repertoire and, while tomato sauce is always the fall back version, mix it up a bit according to season, whims, etc. 

During the summer, I like nothing more than to take advantage of the bounty of local produce and make a quick sauté of seasonal vegetables to toss with my pasta.  Using a multi-grain version makes it even a little more healthy choice…especially if you go easy on the grated cheese as a topping.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound good quality pasta (I like Barilla’s “Plus” multigrain penne pasta)
  • 2 or 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Italian sweet frying pepper*
  • 3 small zucchini*
  • 1 medium eggplant*
  • Optional: 4 or 5 Tbs of chopped fresh herbs from the garden (basil, oregano, flat leaf parsley)
  • Salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, pecorino romano cheese

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Throw in a generous pinch of kosher salt. Add pasta to pot and stir.

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium low heat. Add minced garlic and a dash of red pepper flakes.  Let cook but don’t let it burn or it will be bitter.

Remove stem and seeds from pepper, dice and toss into skillet just as the garlic is becoming aromatic. Toss or stir.

Cut off the ends of the zucchini and slice into rounds (if the slices are too big in diameter, cut in half), add to skillet and mix with peppers and garlic.

Stir pasta.

Remove ends of eggplant, partially peel in alternating strips (if desired), cut into a large dice, and add to skillet.  Season vegetables with salt and pepper and then stir/flip/shake to ensure even cooking.

Stir pasta.

When pasta is done, toss a couple of ladles of the cooking water into the skillet and stir.

Drain pasta in colander and return to pot. Add half of the herbs (if using) to the vegetables. Stir. Add vegetables to pasta pot and mix. Add rest of the herbs, drizzle with a bit more olive oil and add some grated pecorino romano cheese.

Serve with red wine (Chianti Classico was our choice), toasted bread rubbed with garlic and olive oil and a tossed salad.

*NOTE: use any combination of seasonal vegetables that suits your taste.

Buon apetito!

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