Garden Pasta

August 8, 2012 § 1 Comment

Back in June, I visited a relative’s home in Sebastopol. Simply put, her garden was out of control.  Her squash had already peaked, and mine had yet to bloom. Her beets looked as though they had been growing for years, and mine were just starting to look edible. And she had leeks that were literally 4 feet tall.

I left feeling impressed, but also a bit inadequate. I knew my garden was doing just fine, but I was still jealous! Well, now that it is August, I have to say that I am pretty happy. My garden is just on the verge of peaking. I have started to get squash, and still have tons of blossoms on the plants. My tomato plants are several feet tall, and are drenched in green tomatoes. And my eggplant and pepper plants are speckled with buds and flowers.

As you may have guessed by now, not all the vegetables in this pasta actually came from my garden. In a few weeks, I might have most of them, but I’m not quite there yet. Despite the slight misnomer, I have actually grown everything in this pasta at one point or another, either in previous gardens or when I worked as a farm intern a few years back. So I feel o.k. sticking with “garden pasta.”

Farmers’ market pasta, vegetable papardelle, garden pasta – whatever you want to call it, it is delicious. This is the second time in a week that I have made this simple, tasty dish!

Garden Pasta (Adapted from Gourmet Easy Dinners, September 2012)

Serves 4 as a stand-alone dish, 6 as a smaller dish

Ingredients

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons white-wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pound (approximately 2 cups) cherry tomatoes, halved, or quartered if larger
  • 2 ears of corn
  • 4 medium zucchini
  • 1/4 cup shallot, sliced as thinly as possible
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, torn into smaller pieces if leaves are large (chopping the basil, rather than tearing it, causes more oxidation)
  • 1/3 cup chives, diced
  • 10 ounces fresh or dried egg pappardelle (you can substitute linguine or spaghetti)*
  • Shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino Romano

* I tried this recipe with a normal, non-egg spaghetti about a week ago. The dish was still delicious, but if you can get your hands on some egg pasta I strongly recommend it. The richer flavor complements the fresh vegetables very well!

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. You can use the same pot for the corn, pasta and zucchini (or if you prefer to keep the corn separate, bring two pots of water to a boil).

While you wait for the water to boil, combine the minced garlic, vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil and salt in a medium sized bowl. Whisk to combine. Add the halved cherry tomatoes, toss, and set aside.

Once the water has come to a boil, add the corn and cook for 4 minutes, or until tender. Remove corn from water with tongs if you are reserving the water for your pasta and zucchini.

Now comes the fun part: peeling the zucchini! Cut off the ends of your zucchini. Then, using a vegetable peeler, start peeling ribbons from one side of the zucchini. When you start to reach the core of the zucchini (when you begin to see zucchini seeds), rotate the zucchini and begin peeling from an adjacent side. Repeat until you have cut ribbons from the entire outer part of the the zucchini and are left with a rectangle-shaped core. Discard the core (or reserve for vegetable stock).

Once the corn has cooled, use a knife to cut the corn off the cobs. Add corn to tomato mix, and discard cobs (or reserve for vegetable stock).

Cook your papardelle al dente. Once the pasta is done (or, more accurately, 10 seconds from being done), add the zucchini ribbons, making sure they are all submerged in the boiling water. Turn off heat, and let the zucchini and pasta sit for 10-15 seconds, then drain immediately. Be careful – it is easy to overcook the zucchini because it is sliced so thinly!

Transfer pasta and zucchini to a large bowl. Add the tomato and corn mix, and toss together gently. Add the shallot, chives and basil, and toss again. Sprinkle with shaved cheese, and serve! The combination of warm pasta and zucchini with cool tomatoes and corn is delicious. However, this pasta is also delicious cold if you have any left over the next day!

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