Recipe: Summer Garden Pasta
It’s usually around this time of year that my pantry and refrigerator are both stuffed to bursting with produce from backyard gardens, CSAs and market binges. The produce spills onto counters and sits in bags on the floor as I struggle to eat it all before relegating it to a compost bin. It can certainly be a challenge to get through all that bounty – tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, sweet corn, and of course the ever-present zucchini and summer squash.
Well never fear – this summery pasta dish is easy to make, and helps make some inroads on all those vegetables... especially the squash. Bright and fresh, it is a great way to showcase just-picked produce from a garden or farm stand. Add in a green salad for an appetizer, a berry tart or pie for dessert, and a glass of crisp white wine and you have all the makings for a seasonal delight of a dinner. Enjoy this dish outside on a beautiful summer evening on a porch or patio, if you can.
Summer Garden Pasta
- 3-4 medium zucchini and/or summer squash
- 3 large ears of sweet corn
- 3 medium tomatoes
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced sweet red onion, if desired
- 1 lb. orchiette pasta (you can also use medium shell pasta)
- 1 cup shredded basil
- Shredded Parmesan cheese for serving
- 1/3 cup olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
- 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 cup mint leaves
- 1/2 cup chopped scallions
- Rinse off the zucchini and squash. Using the large holes on a box shredder, shred all of the zucchini. Toss with 1 teaspoon salt and place in a strainer or colander in the sink. Let drain at least 30 minutes while you prepare the rest of the pasta.
- Set a large pot of water to boil. Make sure the water is well salted. Cook the pasta until it is al dente. When it is done, reserve a little pasta water in case you need to loosen the sauce. Drain the pasta but do not rinse. Set aside.
- While the pasta is cooking, cut the corn kernels off the cob into a medium bowl, reserving any juice as well. Slice the tomatoes into chunks and add to the corn. Add onion if using. Set aside.
- Whisk together the vinaigrette ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
- When the pasta is finished cooking, add the zucchini mixture by taking a handful at a time and squeezing to drain it of excess moisture before adding to the pasta. Do this for all the shredded zucchini. Toss to mix, then add the corn/tomato/onion mixture, vinaigrette, and shredded basil. Toss to mix. If needed, drizzle a little extra olive oil and/or pasta water. Add salt to taste.
- Serve with shredded parmesan cheese.