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Author Notes: This recipe began on an oppressively humid day as a way to stretch one zucchini, eight green beans and a small cucumber (the first pickings from my garden) into a meal for two adults and six children. As a summery side dish, it's a refreshing change from mayonnaise-based pasta or potato salads. For a more substantial dish, toss in some peeled, cooked shrimp, leftover roast chicken or chunks of grilled Italian sausage and serve with a hunk of bread pulled from a crusty loaf. - betteirene
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, pressed
- Salt and pepper
- 6 medium heirloom tomatoes, preferably a mix of red, yellow and purple varieties such as Dixie Golden, Brandywine or Cherokee, peeled if desired, cored and roughly chopped
- 1 14-15 oz. can cannellini or garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 medium zucchini or cucumber, quartered lengthwise and sliced
- 1 rib celery, diced
- 4 green onions
- 8 ounces small pasta such as ditalini, mini penne, mini shells or mini bow ties
- 1 cup fresh yellow or green beans, trimmed and cut into 1" pieces
- 1 carrot, peeled and diced
- 1 small bell or hot pepper, any variety, seeded and diced (optional)
- 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil, plus whole leaves for garnish
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh oregano
- 1/4 cup shaved or coarsely-grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, Asiago, Grana, Pecorino or Romano cheese
- In a large bowl, stir together the olive oil, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt and 5 grinds black pepper. Add the tomatoes, beans, zucchini and celery and combine gently.
- Trim the ends of the green onions and slice thinly on the diagonal. Add the white part to the tomato mixture and reserve the green slices for garnish.
- Bring two quarts of water and 2 teaspoons salt to a boil. Add pasta and return to a boil. Three minutes later or when pasta is halfway cooked, stir in the green beans and carrots; continue cooking until pasta is al dente. Drain and add while still hot to the tomato mixture. Stir in the bell or hot pepper, if using.
- Zest the lemon over the bowl, then squeeze the juice over the vegetables. Add the parsley, basil and oregano and stir gently. Taste; adjust the salt and pepper to your liking. Sprinkle with the reserved green onions, whole basil leaves and cheese. Serve while warm.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Recipe Using Heirloom Tomatoes