There’s nothing more satisfying than cooking fresh picked out of your garden organic vegetables! Or in my case picked out of my friends’ gardens…
Since we just moved, I didn’t get to plant a summer garden this year. However, there’s no shortage of friends sharing their garden treasures with me (thank you soooo much y’all – I feel the love – and your need to get rid of your bountiful crop – I love you for it!)
The other day, after a get together with friends (more like mom’s hanging out during our kids’ playdate), I ended up with tons of beautiful summer zucchinis, yellow squashes and tomatoes. On my drive home, without time to spare as it was close to dinner time I ponder, “what to make with all of these goodies?” Pasta came to mind! My kids love pasta and if I put enough shredded Parmesan cheese on it they would eat all their veggies too!
For this pasta, I was inspired by the simplicity of a famous Italian dish called Pasta a la Puttanesca. Puttanesca sauce (ladies of the night sauce) is a quick, simple, unpretentious and delicious recipe – one of my favorite pasta dishes!
Even though this recipe doesn’t call for anchovies like in Puttanesca (I didn’t have any in my pantry), the idea is to make a rustic, simple, no fuss – dinner will be ready in 15 minutes – in the mean time let’s see what else we need to clean out of the refrigerator – kind of a meal! You can add and subtract ingredients – you can add mushrooms, eggplant, spinach, asparagus – switch the basil with parsley – add mozzarella cheese, cooked Italian sausage or leftover rotisserie chicken – you have limitless options here!
Something I always do when I cook pasta is to reserve some of the cooking liquid (aka pasta water). With it, you can make a little bit of a sauce without having to use marinara, heavy cream or butter as a base.
Reserving some cooking liquid is a good idea even if you are cooking a pasta recipe with a sauce – think Alfredo for example. Once mixed, the pasta absorbs the sauce and sometimes it dries quickly, that’s when the cooking liquid comes in handy! You can thin out the mixture with it.
I’m sure this never happens in your home, but in mine there are times when I call everyone for supper and no one seems to hear me. I call and call and everyone seems to be “busy and focused” on some sort of urgent matter that needs their attention (Legos, video games, tv shows, you know -important stuff). After so much waiting, my pasta starts to look sad as I patiently wait for everyone to sit at the table. The pasta gets drier as I get louder….. The solution? Reserve a cup or more of the cooking liquid! Mix it with your pasta and voila! Happy, creamy and delicious pasta ready for everyone to enjoy!
- Rough chopped is what we are going for here. This recipe is about simple, rustic and fast.
- This is the perfect recipe for “everything and the kitchen sink” mentality. Take advantage and clear out your produce drawers!
- Wondering what to do with all the extras from your garden? Give them away as a gift with a print out of this recipe!!
- Any variety of tomato works great for this dish. Adjust quantities as needed.
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2011 Pietra Santa Estate Grown Cienega Valley Sangiovese tastes of cranberry and intense Bing cherry with undertones of anise and a lingering finish. The depth and complexity of this wine has made it an annual best seller and the ultimate companion to great Italian cuisine.