Summer pastas should be simple and fresh, ideally made with vegetables straight from the garden or from your local farmers’ market. As the temperature rises, trade out heavier ingredients like braised meats or long-cooked sauces for fresh vegetables, bright herbs and seafood. One of the best parts of summer is the abundance of fresh produce. Perfect summer tomatoes need little work. Just toss them with fresh fettuccine and extra-virgin olive oil. Or try roasting cherry tomatoes with garlic and red onions and mixing it all with pasta, lemon juice and arugula. The great thing about summer vegetable sauces for pasta is that they require so little cooking. Here are a few recipes to get you started.
Chicken and Vegetable Pasta
- 12 ounces penne pasta
- 2 large tomatoes, diced small
- 2 zucchini, diced small
- 2 cups chicken, cooked and diced
- 5 garlic cloves, chopped fine
- 6 ounces fresh spinach
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
- 1 lemon, juiced
- Freshly grated Parmesan cheese for garnish
Bring a medium-sized stockpot of salted water to a boil, and cook pasta al dente. Reserve a ½ cup of the pasta cooking water and drain the pasta.
Preheat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the 2 tablespoons olive oil, diced zucchini and garlic and cook for 2 minutes.
Add the diced tomato, lemon juice, cooked chicken and pasta cooking water. Bring ingredients to a boil; add spinach and cooked, drained pasta.
Stir ingredients and continue to cook for another 2 to 3 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
Stir in the chopped parsley. Serve hot, garnished with lots of Parmesan cheese.
Tomato Linguine Sauté
- 2 pounds ripe tomatoes
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 bunch fresh basil, hand torn
- 1/2 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced
- 1 pound linguine
- Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
Wash the tomatoes. Dry the tomatoes; then core and cut them in half.
Use a spoon to remove most of the seeds. Chop the tomatoes coarsely.
Add chopped tomatoes to a colander, sprinkle with a few pinches of salt and let them sit so they can release some of their water (this should only take a half an hour and can be done ahead of time).
Combine drained tomatoes, olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest and garlic in a large sauté pan. Warm this mixture over low heat. It should not be hot.
Cook pasta al dente. Drain.
Combine pasta and tomato mixture together in a serving bowl. Add fresh basil and Parmesan and taste for seasoning.
Serve with warm crusty bread.
Pasta With Shrimp and Roasted Red Peppers
- 1 ½ pounds fresh peeled and deveined medium shrimp
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/3 cup finely chopped onion (1 small)
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 4 fresh roasted red peppers, diced; for directions on how to make roasted red peppers, check this post
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1/2 cup whipping cream
- 1/4 cup snipped fresh basil
- 1 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese (4 ounces)
- 12 ounces dried penne pasta
Cook pasta in boiling salted water until al dente. Drain.
Rinse shrimp and pat dry with paper towels. Set aside.
In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic. Cook and stir for a few minutes until the onion is tender.
Add crushed red pepper; cook and stir for 1 minute. Add roasted peppers, shrimp and wine. Bring to boiling; reduce heat.
Simmer, uncovered, about 2 minutes or until shrimp are opaque, stirring occasionally. Stir in cream and cheese. Return to boiling; reduce heat.
Boil gently, uncovered, for 1 minute. Stir in basil.
Add the hot cooked pasta to the pan; toss gently to combine. Serve immediately.
Pasta with Squash Blossoms
- 1 yellow summer squash, sliced thin
- 1 zucchini, sliced thin
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 pound short pasta
- 8 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved
- 7 squash blossoms, 4 sliced thin and 3 left whole
- 1 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
- 2 tablespoons fresh oregano, minced
Cook pasta al dente in boiling salted water. Reserve 1 1/4 cups pasta cooking water. Drain pasta.
Saute yellow squash and zucchini in olive oil in a large skillet over low heat until pale gold, about 8 minutes.
Add pasta, the reserved pasta cooking water, tomatoes, 4 sliced and 3 whole squash blossoms, cheese and oregano. Cook, stirring, until a sauce forms, about 1 minute. Serve immediately.
Lemony Pasta Salad
Serves 4 to 6
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- 10 ounces bow-tie pasta
- 1/3 cup pine nuts
- 10 ounces (about 1 pint) mini heirloom, grape or cherry tomatoes, sliced into thin rounds
- 3 ears corn on the cob, shucked
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta
- 2 tablespoons slivered fresh basil
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh mint
In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients: lemon juice, lemon zest, olive oil, garlic, mustard, salt and red pepper flakes; set aside.
Toast the pine nuts in a small skillet, stirring frequently, until fragrant and golden. Set aside.
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook the pasta al dente. Drain and transfer to a serving bowl. Add the sliced tomatoes, corn kernels, crumbled feta, toasted pine nuts, basil and mint.
Pour the dressing over the pasta and mix well. Serve at room temperature.