Summer Garden Pasta

by James Farmer III
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summerpasta2Meteorologically speaking, fall has fallen. Maybe in parts well above the Mason-Dixon Line or high in the Appalachians, crisp mornings and whispers of Autumn proper are upon y'all. When I'm in Cashiers, I can feel it too, but whilst back in Perrydise, the equinoxes have not yielded one to another and summer still reigns supreme.

Indian Summer is what this seasonal limbo is often referred to. And summer garden produce is still coming in too! With the plethora of produce, a couple of my favorite dishes make their way to the table this time of year. In Dinner on the Grounds, I have my Cashiers Farmers Market Pasta, and from A Time to Cook, my Summer Garden Pasta comes to life on the pages.

I love this pasta. It's simple and delicious and full of flavor. It can be doused with cream and covered with cheese or served simply without the cheese and cream ... yet be so elegantly fresh and light. It's even better the next day reheated!

Plus, this is a pot and pan dish. Boil the pasta in a pot and sauté the veggies in a pan. Mix it all in the pan and serve! There'll be some chopping too but it's a fun meal. A meatless meal but you'll never miss it... Unless you just want a piece of salmon or some shrimp or sausage for good measure.

 

This dish is an all time fave of mine and my family. I hope it becomes one for you and yours! Enjoy this season of summer fading to fall and all the produce the season affords! Happy eatin' y'all!

Summer Garden Pasta
Recipe from A Time to Cook – Dishes from my Southern Sideboard
Photography by Helen Norman

1/2 pound pasta, shape of your choice
2 shallots, peeled and minced
1 medium Vidalia or other sweet onion, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 pound tomatoes, chopped
1-2 small yellow squash, diced
1-2 small zucchinis, diced
salt
freshly ground black pepper
dash of red pepper flakes, optional
4 ears of corn
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/3 cup roughly chopped basil leaves
1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
1 cup or more heavy whipping cream
3/4 cup grated Monterey Jack or Parmesan cheese
3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and then transfer pasta to a large baking dish sprayed with cooking oil.

In a large, deep skillet, cook shallots and onion in a pan with olive oil and butter over medium heat until they are caramelized and crispy. Add the chopped tomatoes, squash, and zucchini and stir together. Season to taste with salt and pepper; for a bit of heat, toss in a dash of red pepper flakes.

Remove corn from the cobs and add to the skillet; stir. Once the veggies have softened, add garlic and basil and stir gently (the pan is probably getting full). Pour in the vinegar and stir to release any caramelized bits stuck to the bottom of the pan and wake up the flavors. Now add a gentle pouring of heavy cream, amount depending on how creamy you want the sauce, and stir well.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Once the cream begins to simmer, transfer the whole panful to the baking dish filled with cooked pasta. Gently mix the vegetables and pasta together. Distribute cheese over the top. Sprinkle breadcrumbs over the top. Bake until the cheese is melted and the breadcrumbs are toasted, about 15 minutes.

James T. Farmer III was born and raised in Georgia, where he continues to live and work as a landscape designer. He shares his love of food, flowers and photography on his blog All Things Farmer.  

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