Whenever I'm in a farmer's market, I get a serious case of my eyes being bigger than my stomach. I want to buy everything, and I grossly overestimate how much I'll actually be cooking that week.
This past weekend was no exception. Two of my awesome girlfriends spent the weekend, and we hit up the farmer's market before breakfast. Not knowing what we'd wind up cooking that day, I stocked up on everything- peppers, zucchini, mushrooms, eggplant, spinach, tomatoes, fruit, you name it.
And as is usually the case with us, we skipped past the vegetables in favor of scrambled eggs with brie, and I found myself with a nice little bounty for the week ahead.
Which is where this yummy summer pasta comes in. This is my favorite type of meal to make: an assortment of vegetables, sauteed in oil, deglazed with wine, and finished off with Parmesan and fresh herbs.
I'm going to attempt to provide you with a technique, not a recipe, because the beauty of this dish is its flexibility. You can start your saute with onions, garlic, fennel, and any vegetable, add in anchovies, or tomato paste, or swap the wine for lemon juice, finish with butter. I don't like to provide exact quantities because you can do whatever you want. If you love eggplant, add a whole one. If zucchini's not your favorite, add a tiny bit.
Summer Vegetable Pasta (Serves 2-4)
1/2 cup halved cherry tomatoes
1/2 a large eggplant, cut into 1 inch cubes
1/2 a medium sized zucchini, cut into 1 inch cubes
1/4 cup sliced baby portabello mushrooms
1/2 cup chopped mixed herbs- I used parsley and basil
2 smashed garlic cloves
1/4 dry white wine
1 cup chicken stock (I throw a teaspoon of bouillon in a measuring cup and pour water out of my tea kettle, but you can be fancy
1 box pasta (I used a mix of gemelli and rotelli, was trying to use up those awkward half boxes!)
Pinch red pepper flakes
Parmesan cheese to taste
Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
In a large skillet, saute olive oil and garlic until golden. Add in all your vegetables, and saute about 8 minutes, until golden.
Add white wine to pan and bring to a boil. Let wine reduce by at least half, and then add chicken stock. Add pasta to your pot of boiling water, and let vegetable mix simmer and reduce a little while pasta cooks.
Drain pasta and add to sauce. Cook together for one minute, then top with parmesan cheese and herbs.
Over the past year, my husband and I have gotten really into weight lifting. Recently, we started seeing a personal trainer, who explained that "what you eat is everything" and sat us down for a nutritional consult.
Her rules are strict: no pasta, no cereal, no bread, extremely limited sugar intake (and sugar includes fruit, carrots, etc). She recommends lean proteins, sweet potatoes, lots of greens, and whole grains- the typical bodybuilder diet.
I can't stick to a diet like that too closely (I'm Italian, I love my pasta!), but I do want to try to eat a little cleaner during our weeknight meals.
This salad is my bodybuilder diet "training wheels"- I mixed couscous (a pasta) with freekeh (a serious whole grain), and added kale, snap peas, and a few shavings of Parmesan. It was pretty good- I don't like the freekeh by itself, but blended with Israeli couscous, it made for a delicious mix of textures.
Kale and Grain Salad
1/2 cup freekeh
1/2 cup Israeli couscous
1 cup chicken stock
1 bunch kale, trimmed and chopped
1 cup sugarsnap peas
1 clove garlic, smashed
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 olive oil
1 small shallot, chopped
2 tbsp vinegar
Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add snap peas, boil one minute, then drain and rinse under cold water to set the color.
Combine 1/2 cup freekeh and 1 and 1/2 cups water in a pot. Bring to a boil, and simmer 45 minutes. (Alternately, you can buy cracked freekeh, which cooks faster. I had a hard time finding that). Drain, and add to a serving bowl.
In a separate pot, add couscous and chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes, until water is absorbed. Drain, and combine with freekeh in serving bowl.
Saute the kale, garlic, and olive oil in one of the pots until wilted, and add to serving bowl. Add sugarsnap peas as well.
Mix all dressing ingredients together and pour over freekeh/couscous combo. Using a vegetable peeler, shave some Parmesan over the top. Serve and enjoy.
*You can also make this salad with just freekeh or just couscous, to make it easier. Or swap quinoa or farro for one of the ingredients.
I've been majorly MIA lately, due to an overwhelmingly jam-packed June, so I figured I'd share what I've been up to before I got back into regular posts.
managed a few summer nights drinking on the pier with friends // spent a weekend on the lake at my husband's old sleepaway camp // hubby's grandma shared some relics from her past as a famous ballerina // LOTS of house hunting // badass new sneakers, only $14.99 // june was full of events: birthdays, family parties, and a friend's baby shower