Summertime (pasta primavera!) and Plenitude of Zukes
It’s clearly summer, the time we’ve been waiting for since planting that god-awful vegetable garden in that god-awful soil…harvest time. (Guess it must not have been as god-awful as we thought, because here there be veggies!) The cucumbers are going berserk, and they’ve become my snack food of choice these days. And I’m remembering why zucchini is something you don’t want to plant too much of, because we’ve already got more than we can eat.
So I sliced a couple of the bigger ones and put them in a ziploc in the freezer to thaw later into pasta sauce makings. (https://greenmomintheburbs.wordpress.com/2009/05/09/crockpot-pasta-sauce/) And tonight three more smaller squashes and 3 farmers market tomatoes became part of dinner. (Wish I’d had mushrooms…)
- boil pasta water in a pot. Just after it boils but before you put the pasta in, drop 3 (or so) tomatoes in for about 90 seconds. Remove, run under cold water, and slip the skin off. Put in the pasta; everything else happens while it’s cooking.
- Cut up 3 or 4 baby zucchinis (or however many you want–it’s not an exact science), some green beans, sliced carrots, shrooms, asparagus, pretty much any veggie you like. (I just did the zukes tonight.)
- Just about when you put the pasta in the water (assuming about a 10 minute cook time): In a skillet, heat a little olive oil. Saute a few cloves of minced or crushed garlic (or be like me and use the stuff out of the jar…sue me!); toss veggies into oil and garlic, saute gently to let veggies cook to crisp-tender. (Maybe medium-high heat?) Note: if like me you like to avoid oil and thus calories, you should know that actually using enough nice extra virgin olive oil to really coat the bottom of the pan well makes a huge difference in the success of the veggies. Too little oil and it just doesn’t work as well. Tragic, isn’t it?
- While the veggies are doing their thing and the pasta is cooking, take your skinned tomatoes, cut them in half cross-ways, and gently squeeze out most of the juice and seeds. (Messy, but pretend it’s a co-worker you don’t like.) (Did I say that? Actually, at the moment I really do like all my coworkers!). Coarsely chop the tomatoes.
- About a minute before the pasta comes out of the water, add the tomatoes plus some (maybe a tsp or so?) dried basil or oregano, or a larger quantity fresh herbs. Stir around and let heat just enough (medium low or so?) to lightly cook the tomatoes but not enough for them to dissolve. Add a little salt and pepper if you wish. Do not cover.
- Drain the pasta. Toss with sauce and (if you’re me) a bunch of fresh parmesan.
Seriously easy, and if you time things well it all takes maybe 15 minutes not counting water boiling time.
I haven’t tried it, but I have to say that the “sauce” leftovers look like they would make lovely bruschetta topping…(EDIT: It’s now several days later, and I have had a few lovely sandwiches based on this sauce. From grilled cheese with warmed primavera to just a pita with some lettuce and leftover sauce stuffed inside, this is a GOOD sandwich filling!)