Farmers’ Market Pasta

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Fresh, fast, and delicious!

Tis’ the season for fresh produce! OK, so maybe we have a month or two before it really gets hoppin,’ but the days of mushy winter tomatoes and waterlogged veggies are done. With summer comes a bounty of vegetables that actually taste like they should…in season, and full of flavor. Hallelujah, amen, now pass the salt!

Local Farmers’ Markets are just getting cranked up—the Saturday market at Pepper Place is in mini-mode, but will bloom into greatness soon. And my new find—the Real Food market on Thursdays at the Alabama Waldorf School—is getting bigger by the week. Both of these, plus some surprisingly delicious cherry tomatoes from Publix, inspired me to make this Farmers’ Market Pasta, which was our fresh and delicious dinner on Wednesday night.

It’s a really simple recipe, but before I tell you how to make it, I want you to understand that the recipe is a simply a guide. This is basically no-cook, except for the noodles. The veggies and herbs are simply chopped up, mixed with the pasta, and tossed with a simple lemon-garlic vinaigrette. I like this because not only is it faster and uses fewer dishes and less electricity, but it also preserves the nutrients and minerals in the veggies. As for meat, we grilled some chicken to mix in, but it’s perfectly delicious sans meat. Although bacon would have been nice…mmmm, bacon.  Enough bacon envy…here’s how I did it.

Not pictured: My darling arugula

Ingredients
1 pint of cherry tomatoes
1 bunch of scallions, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
2 small  yellow squash, chopped
2 ears of fresh corn
1 big bunch of basil, chopped
2-3 cups of arugula, rough chopped
1/2 package of whole wheat pasta, cooked

For the vinaigrette
zest and juice of 1 1/2 lemons
1 large garlic clove, minced (or zested!)
1 tsp dijon mustard
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
salt and pepper

This dish is super easy. Start by preparing the vinaigrette. Zest your lemons and garlic, add the other ingredients, whisk, and season to taste. Set aside. Next, prepare your vegetables. You can halve the cherry tomatoes if you want…these were so good I left them whole. Get the squash and zucchini into bite-sized pieces. Then tackle the corn. Ages ago, Matthew shared a tip about using a bundt pan to help you get the corn off the cob. A pictures says a thousand words:

Photo by David

After you get the corn shucked, add all your veggies to a large bowl. In the meantime, cook your pasta and whatever meat you plan to use. We did grilled chicken, but you could easily do shrimp or just bacon. But seriously, this could be a satisfying meatless meal if you want to go that route. Back to the pasta: Drain it, reserving a cup of the salty pasta water. Dump the drained pasta into the veggie bowl, add the vinaigrette, and mix. Season with additional salt and pepper if needs be. And that’s it! Oh, except for one more delicious addition:

Cheese, cheese, cheese. You don’t need a ton, but I added about 3/4 cup to the hot pasta (adding a little pasta water to loosen the sauce if necessary), and grated just a touch over the top. Now that Whole Foods is on my way home from work, there’s no escaping the occasional cheese indulgence. And that made a certain cycling enthusiast very, very happy.

"Where did you get a bike helmet?" I asked.

He had this helmet on for like 20 minutes, but I was so into my mischief I didn’t notice…LOL.

Anyway, that’s it! This is a great recipe framework to help you use all the goodies you collect at your local Farmers’ Market. Play with the ingredients based on what you’ve got, and don’t be afraid to experiment…there’s no telling what deliciousness you’ll create. Have a great weekend and get thee to a Farmers’ Market! 😉

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