What to CookHello, Summer

Penne Eats Its Summer Vegetables, Gets Into an Easy, Cheesy Groove

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Summer starts on June 21st! In honor of all the BBQing, sprinkler-hopping, and ice cream truck-chasing to come, we give you Hello, Summer, a picnic basket full of easy-breezy recipes and tips to help you make the most of every minute this season.


Has the siren call of the farmers market pulled you in yet? I walk through New York’s Union Square Greenmarket on my way to or from work a few times a week, and lately, it’s been a glorious flurry of colors (strawberries!) and activity (tourists! camera crews!). Pretty soon, we’ll be at the point where the bumper crops of zucchini and tomatoes swell our hauls, and we’re left thumbing through that killer zucchini bread and pitch-perfect gazpacho from summers past.

Well, I’m here to prepare you for those dog days of summer, when you’ll be overrun with summer’s generous bounty. Izy Hossack’s Easy Summer Pasta delivers on its refreshingly simple and straightforward title in her cookbook, The Savvy Cook. Here, she calls on the flavors of a classic French dish, as well as the long-lasting comforts of a simple bowl of cheesy pasta.

Summer lovin' had me a blast~
Summer lovin' had me a blast~ Photo by Rocky Luten

"By roasting tomatoes, eggplant, and zucchini together, you end up with a ratatouille-like mixture,” she explains. “Just whack it all in the oven for an hour and come back when you are ready to cook the penne. Throw on some torn mozzarella near the end so that it melts over the vegetables and combine with the pasta and some crème fraîche or ricotta.”

We love a good just-whack-it-all-in-the-oven recipe, and while the veg gets going, you can get started on the pasta. Hossack uses whole wheat penne here, but any type (traditional or gluten-free) would work just as nicely. The key is to reserve some of the pasta water for the "sauce," in addition to saving a handful of uncooked cherry tomatoes to retain some brightness for the finished dish.

22 Veggie-Loaded Pastas for Dinner (& Then Your Lunch Box)
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22 Veggie-Loaded Pastas for Dinner (& Then Your Lunch Box)

The Easy Summer Pasta found many fans in our office, but especially our own Food Writer and Recipe Developer, Emma Laperruque. “Summer vegetables never felt so dang loved: hearty whole-wheat pasta and gooey, melty cheese. If you ask me what's for dinner from now until September, it's probably this."

Easy Summer Pasta

Easy Summer Pasta

Izy Hossack Izy Hossack
Serves 2
  • 1 3/4 cups (300g) cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 medium zucchini
  • 1 eggplant, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons mixed dried herbs (I like herbes de Provence)
  • 2 3/4 ounces (75g) fresh mozzarella cheese, torn into medium strips
  • 1 1/2 cups (150g) dried wholewheat penne pasta (or 3 cups/300g cooked
  • 3 tablespoons crème fraîche or ricotta cheese
  • 1 pinch salt, more to taste
Go to Recipe

More Pasta Goodness, This Way

What are your go-to summer pastas? Share them with us below!

Automagic Spring Menu Maker!
Automagic Spring Menu Maker!