Summer Vegetable Pasta

Summer is in full swing and so is the heat! One advantage of the sweltering temps is the abundance of produce coming in from the land and gardens. Squash, zucchini, tomatoes, corn, and onions are brimming over the harvest baskets. Finding ways to use, combine, and take in all this wonderful produce can be a culinary quest this Farmer loves to take.

Take the aforementioned veggies and combine them into a dish that is as fresh and delicious as the season itself. One of my favorite combos is to take this garden goodness and make a pasta dish that can easily feed a family or is perfect for a dinner party. You are only limited by the veggies, so I hope you’ve planted mounds of squash, rows of corn, and trellis of tomatoes! If not, peruse through your local farmer’s market or fruit stand and indulge in this season’s treasure!

A two “pot” meal, this dish is a breeze and very elegant in its simplicity. Browning some shallots and onion, Vidalia’s of course, in a pan with olive oil and butter; render these down until crispy and caramelized. Throw in the chopped tomatoes, squash, and zucchini and stir the mixture together. Add your salt and pepper to taste and for a bit of heat, a dash of some red pepper flakes.

Once the veggies have softened, toss in some minced garlic, chopped or small basil leaves, and freshly carved corn. Stirring the last few ingredients into the pan (which is getting pretty full) add a gentle pouring of heavy cream and some white balsamic vinegar. The vinegar releases any caramelizing bits from the bottom of the pan and wakes up the fresh flavors of the vegetables and herbs.

Adding the corn towards the end keeps it crunchy and the texture of the soft vegetables, crunchy corn, and cream is just delightful. Fair warning – your kitchen is going to smell divine! Once the cream begins to simmer, toss the whole pan into a baking dish filled with cooked pasta. A fun size such as bowtie or penne works wonders for this dish. Mix the vegetable mixture and pasta in the baking dish and cover with some fresh Monterey Jack cheese (I love the one from M&T) or Parmesan. Sprinkle the cheese with some Panko bread crumbs and bake until the cheese is melted and the bread crumbs toasted…350 for about 15 minutes or so.

A whole meal in itself, this Summer Vegetable Pasta is as close to the garden as you can get. The very essence of summer produce and flavors, this dish is sure to be a hit for you and yours. I even use some green tomatoes for a little bit of tartness to pair with the sweet of the ripened red ones. The colors, the flavor, the texture, and the smell are so fresh and delicious…when you have a dish like this one, it is worth the heat. Serve by itself or with The Farmer’s Cucumber Salad and Squash Spoonbread. From this Farmer’s garden, kitchen, and table – happy gardening and cooking…and eating too!