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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Farmer's Market Summer Vegetable Pasta

At the height of summer (ok ok - I have been negligent to post), the tables at the farmers markets overflowing with an abundance of gorgeous ripe, fragrant produce. Thursday is the night we head to the farmer's market which is around the corner from the depot where we pick up our CSA (Community Sponsored Agriculture) half share allotment. We always catch the tail end of the market and sometimes some of the farmers are packing up. But I love going anyway. There are always a small handful of vendors who wait for the stragglers like me. The market closest to our foos is situated on the edge of a park and children's playground. Every week, swarms of tiny children covered in face paint descend upon the park, laughing, running, falling down and sometimes crying under the watchful eyes of their parents.

I love markets, particularly at the height of the season when the tomatoes, corn and basil shine. In fact, it's hard to keep me away. Some girls like shoe shopping, I like food shopping. I love looking at the long rectangular tables abundant with fresh vegetables everywhere glistening and fragrant of the earth and the possibility of what could be for dinner that night.

As we walked home, I thought about how I could put a meal together that would be simple and quick but would allow the natural fresh flavours of this week's harvest to shine through. This little gem is what I came up with...

1 lb cesarecce pasta (or other short pasta like gemelli)
3 tbsp unsalted butter
4 large cloves of garlic, minced (lots I know - but I love it)
1 onion
2 zucchinis
25 cherry tomatoes
1 small red chilli – deseeded, finely sliced
2 handfuls of flat leaf parsley and curly parsley
salt & pepper to taste

To save time in the kitchen, prepare your vegetables as the water for your pasta boils. You will need to prepare your vegetables in the following order:
Mince garlic
Thinly slice onion
De-seed chilli and finely slice (it can be very hot so be careful and wash your hands thoroughly)
Dice zucchinis
Halve cherry tomatoes
Chop herbs

1. Bring water to a boil, generously salt, add pasta. Stir briefly to prevent sticking. Cook to package instructions (8-10 minutes)
2. As the pasta cooks, this is the time to finishing preparing the vegetables. Work quickly. Melt butter in a large pre-heated pan. The pan should not be too hot because you want the butter to melt gently until its slightly foamy and not sizzling. Add garlic, onions and chili and stir until translucent. Add diced zucchini and stir until it softens slightly. Add herbs to pan. Stir to incorporate.
3. Just before the pasta is al dente, scoop pasta out with a slotted spoon into the pan.
4. Mix the pasta with the vegetables, add a small amount of the pasta water if you need to loosen
5. Serve!!
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