This quick and easy Pasta with Summer Vegetables is full of summer’s bounty, Tomatoes, zucchini, yellow squash, Kalamata olives, capers, fresh basil and lots of Parmesan cheese make this dish irresistible!
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!
Pasta with Summer Vegetables
For this Pasta with Summer Vegetables, 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 that will be ready in 15 minutes.
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 Pasta with Summer Vegetables 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!
- 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!
- Take a look at this Grilled Vegetables and Couscous Salad. The perfect dish to bring to your next picnic.
- 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.
2013 Iris Vineyards Oregon Pinot Gris This refreshing, pale straw colored Pinot Gris displays intriguing aromas of orange zest and chamomile blossom with a hint of white peach. On the palate this crisp medium bodied wine has citrus, mango and pear flavors accompanied by bright acidity and a clean finish.
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.
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Pasta with Summer Vegetables
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 - 4 garlic cloves, chopped
- ½ red onion, diced
- 1 small red bell pepper, sliced and cut into small bite size pieces
- 1 large zucchini, sliced in half lengthwise and cut into chunks
- 1 large yellow squash, sliced in half lengthwise and cut into chunks
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tomatoes, chopped into chunks
- ½ cup Kalamata olives, roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons capers, drained
- Red pepper flakes to taste
- 12 ounces short pasta, such as Farfalle (bowties) or penne
- 1 tablespoon butter
- Torn basil leaves
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese or more to taste
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add a generous amount of salt and 1 tablespoon of butter. Cook pasta according to package directions until al dente. While the pasta is cooking, start cooking the vegetables.
- In a medium sauté pan over low heat, add the olive oil and the chopped garlic. Let the garlic simmer in low heat for a few minutes stirring occasionally. You want the garlic to slowly infuse the oil while making sure it doesn’t turn brown.
- Turn the heat to medium and add the onion, red bell pepper, zucchini and yellow squash. Add the Italian seasoning, dried oregano and salt and pepper to taste. Cook for about 4 minutes or until the onions are translucent and the vegetables are partially cooked. Add the chopped tomatoes, Kalamata olives, capers and red pepper flakes. Mix gently, cover and cook for about 5-7 minutes.
- Drain pasta and reserve about 1 cup of the cooking liquid.
- Return the pasta to the pot and add the cooked vegetable mix, the basil and a bit of the reserved cooking liquid. Mix to combine. Add parmesan cheese and adjust seasoning. The cooking liquid helps to create a sauce so your pasta is not dry. Serve and top with more Parmesan cheese.