Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Late summer tomato and pasta collision

It's cooling off enough to cook inside again (even though it was unseasonably warm today). The flip flops are stashed in the closet, and I haven't been wearing shorts too much any more. There's a brief period of time when fresh tomatoes are available, but it's cool enough to cook them. So last weekend I spent the morning hauling rock for next year's raised beds and roasting some plum tomatoes scored from Wilson Farm. I've written about the roasted tomato thing before, so I won't repeat. Go for the original Molly Wizenberg version -- that's what I did. Suffice to say, that roasted tomatoes on hearty bread, perhaps with some goat or other soft cheese is heavenly. I tricked the season a little by doing them on the gas grill outside, so it wouldn't heat up the kitchen.

But that effort only used up about 1/4 of the four quarts of tomatoes I brought home. What to do?
Susan brought home some fresh pasta (with herbs de Provence) from the Lexington farmers market from Nella Pasta -- a small pasta maker that uses the Crop Circles shared kitchen in Jamaica Plain.  (More on shared kitchens in another post).
Enter the vegetable drawer in the fridge, with zucchini and summer squash, some garlic, onion, and a little time (not thyme), and it made the perfect accompaniment to the fresh pasta.
What I loved about creating this dish was how the vegetables changed over the half hour or so on the stove.  At the beginning, it didn't look like much.  And didn't taste like much.  But a little simmering concentrates that tomato flavor, softens up the squashes, and melds in the onion and garlic.  By the time the pasta was ready, the vegetables were soft but not mushy.  And the few splashes of red wine added enough depth to really round out the dish.  A little salt and grinds of black pepper finished it off for a fine dish.  You could add some Parmesan cheese if you want, but really, the veggies tasted wonderful, so no real need.

1 medium onion, diced
1 zucchini, medium, diced
1 summer squash, medium, diced
6 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
3 cloves garlic, lightly crushed, to stay in one piece
1 handful of swiss chard (from the garden!), chopped (stems can use them if you want)
olive oil
red wine
1/2 pound fresh pasta
salt and pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil gently, and add the garlic and onions.  Let those cook easily while  seeding and dicing the tomatoes.  Add them when ready and continue to cook slowly.  Start a pot of water for the pasta.  Dice the squashes, and add them after about 10 minutes.  Remove the garlic.

Continue to cook gently while the pasta water boils.  After about 10 minutes or so, and add the chard. Add some more olive oil if desired, and a few splashes of red wine.

When the water boils, cook the pasta until it's done (only a couple of minutes if you're using fresh pasta).

Drain the pasta, and serve with the vegetables.
Enhanced by Zemanta

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts with Thumbnails