This summer I have found myself really branching out in my cooking. I know this is partly due to starting this blog, however, it is also partly out of sheer necessity to consume all of the lovely vegetables that are coming from my garden. I find myself traveling less to the farmers market and more to my deck to see what is ready to be eaten each day.
Even if you don't have the space for a garden, a few herbs in a pot on the kitchen counter would get you started in the direction of growing your own. I find both the thrill of growing something myself, and the ease (along with cost savings) of just pulling a few leaves off the plant to throw in a dish totally worth the bit of effort it takes.
In this easy pasta dish the vegetables really shine. I cooked them in just a bit of oil, shallot, and garlic. Nothing that would over power the different flavors of each vegetable. I also enjoyed the fresh herbs here. The basil and parsley add a nice layer of flavor that I am learning how to use and appreciate.
Recipe for Summer Vegetables with Sausage and Pasta
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 shallot, diced
2 cloves of garlic, finely diced
3 summer squash, chopped
2 bell peppers, chopped
3 tomatoes, chopped
1 tablespoon dried oregano
3 sweet italian sausages, casings removed
handful of fresh basil, chopped
handful of fresh parsley, chopped
fresh mozzarella cheese (optional)
salt and pepper
1 large handful of dried pasta (I used whole wheat spaghetti, however next time I think I'll try angel hair pasta as I think it will compliment the thickly-cut vegetables better)
Heat olive oil in the bottom of a sauce pan and add the diced shallot and garlic. Stir until soft. Add the squash, bell pepper, tomatoes and dried oregano to the pan and stir in with the oil, shallot and garlic. After 5-10 minutes, when the vegetables are just turning soft, scoop everything into a bowl.
Using the same pan as for the vegetables, cook the sausage throughly, breaking it up into bite sized pieces as it cooks. While the sausage is cooking, boil salted water for the pasta (approximately 5 quarts of water for 1 pound of pasta). Cook chosen pasta until al dente, drain and set aside.
Once the sausage has cooked through add the vegetables back into the pan and stir well. Add the chopped basil and parsley, give a quick stir and it is ready to serve.
Place pasta on a plate, ladle on the vegetable / sausage sauce, sprinkle with fresh grated mozzarella. Serve with salt and pepper to taste.
Serves 4 as a main dish.
Summer squash, tomatoes, bell pepper's, garlic, basil and parsley are all over the farmer's markets and backyard gardens right now in Northern California.
Other vegetables could easily be substituted for what I used here depending on the season. The sausage (and cheese) could also be omitted for a vegetarian or vegan version of this simple dish.
(photography by: alison clayshulte)