The past weekend’s trip to the farmer’s market reminded me that it had been far too long since I had made one of my very favorite meals. The meal that was initially contrived through pure necessity, but turned out to be one of my most beloved Summer recipes - one that I have repeated many times since.
You know how much I love pasta. It’s a major part of my ongoing, ever-growing romance with carbs. This pasta, however, is on a level all it’s own.
Last Summer, while visiting my aunt, we took a trip to the market and haphazardly gathered produce, making up dinner plans as we went along. Whatever looked fresh and lovely went into the basket and, eventually, into a big bowl of pasta.
The vegetables were chopped, seasoned, and grilled. The pasta was dressed with the threesome that never fails to please - lemon juice, olive oil, and pecorino romano - and the whole meal was served up in a large copper bowl with a hefty spoon.
Love at first bite. This pasta is one of those very special dishes that you only come across several times in your life. It’s the kind of meal you cannot stop eating even after you are beyond full. It’s light yet rich, cozy yet Summery. It is everything I want when the coolness of the evening comes, and I absolutely adore the simplicity of it all.
This is definitely the dinner you want to make for a table full of company. No one feels like spending too much time over a hot stove in the summertime and this pasta is the perfect, quick, one-dish meal. From start to finish this meal takes me about forty-five minutes and that’s just about perfect in my mind.
This recipe is also incredibly customizable. I’m kind of stuck on the tomato, zucchini, pepper, and mushroom combination, but you could really throw in whatever fresh vegetables you have on hand. I think eggplant would be smashing.
I also like to add some sliced, grilled chicken breasts for protein, but you can certainly go vegetarian.
Squeeze some lemon, grate some (A LOT) of cheese, and toss it up!
Dinner is served.
Summer Vegetable Pasta
- 3 small zucchini, sliced and quartered
- 2 medium sweet peppers, chopped
- 12 ounces cremini mushrooms, quartered
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for finishing
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2/3 cup freshly grated pecorino romano
- juice of one lemon
- 3 medium chicken breasts, grilled and sliced (optional)
- 1 lb penne pasta
In a large bowl combine chopped vegetables, garlic, and tomatoes. Toss with 1/4 cup olive oil and salt. Transfer the seasoned vegetables to a grill pan and grill over high heat, tossing often to ensure even cooking. Cook for about 15-25 minutes, until the vegetables are slightly charred on the edges and the tomatoes burst.
While the vegetables are cooking, prepare the pasta.
Fill a large pot with 10 cups of water and season liberally with salt. Place over high heat and bring to a boil. When the water has reached a rolling boil, add pasta and cook for about 10 minutes, until al dente.
Drain the pasta thoroughly and transfer to a large bowl. Add the grilled vegetables and chicken (if using) and toss with pecorino and fresh lemon juice. Season with additional salt if necessary and serve immediately. Enjoy!