Make Ahead

Pasta d'estate

August 17, 2011
Author Notes

Yeah, that's probably not actually the right way to say summer pasta in Italian...but it's the Italian spirit that counts, right? I'd call this pasta Italian in the way that pasta Primavera is, ie. not very, except for that fundamental indicator of Italian-ness, the use of pasta. And, like Primavera (good Primavera, that is), it's a jungle-like tangle of vegetables and said pasta, which is speedy, fresh and phenomenal.
I began making this pasta in high school, as I was starting to chop and stir my way into cooking proficiency. My taste and cooking has changed a great deal since then (I no longer crave - forbidden - oatmeal creme pies as my afternoon snack, for example), but I still do love this pasta. It just comes together so nicely.
And, I know it's not standard practice to turn on the oven and roast vegetables in the summer, but I think it's worth it for this dish. Something about the way the caramelized edges of the roasted vegetables melt into the pasta and contrast with the sharp garlic and juicy sweet cherry tomatoes, it's just good. —fiveandspice

  • Serves 4-6
Ingredients
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 cup (loosely packed) fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 small zucchini, cut into 2-inch cubes
  • 1 head of broccoli, stem removed (save it for something else) and cut into small florets
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 12 ounces spaghetti or linguine
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta (plus a little more to taste
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. At least 2 hours before dinner combine the garlic, 2 Tbs. olive oil, basil leaves and halved cherry tomatoes in a large bowl. Cover, and set this aside and let it hang out.
  2. When you get close to dinner time, preheat your oven to 450F. On a large, rimmed baking sheet, toss the zucchini, broccoli, and onion with the remaining olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast this in the oven, stirring occasionally, until softened and browned (mine takes around 20 minutes).
  3. In the meantime, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook your pasta until al dente and drain (reserve a little pasta water - about a quarter cup, just in case, but I usually find I don't use it).
  4. Add the pasta to the bowl with the tomato mixture, scrape the roasted vegetables along with any oil and browned bits on the pan on top of the pasta and gently toss everything together (if it's looking dry, toss in that bit of pasta water, but mine usually has plenty of wonderfully flavored oil to make the sauce). Then, sprinkle in the feta and toss it a bit more, until everything is just mixed. Taste, and season with more salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm.
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I like to say I'm a lazy iron chef (I just cook with what I have around), renegade nutritionist, food policy wonk, and inveterate butter and cream enthusiast! My husband and I own a craft distillery in Northern Minnesota called Vikre Distillery (www.vikredistillery.com), where I claimed the title, "arbiter of taste." I also have a doctorate in food policy, for which I studied the changes in diet and health of new immigrants after they come to the United States. I myself am a Norwegian-American dual citizen. So I have a lot of Scandinavian pride, which especially shines through in my cooking on special holidays. Beyond loving all facets of food, I'm a Renaissance woman (translation: bad at focusing), dabbling in a variety of artistic and scientific endeavors.