I usually don't make up recipes. I often adapt recipes that I find elsewhere to suit my own needs, but I usually don't just start cooking without SOME sort of guidance. The few times I do, they seldom turn out very exciting, even if they are edible. And this recipe is really nothing to write home about- it's not a revolutionary idea or anything. But it's simple, the flavor is amazing, it's frugal... and I made it up myself.
The bacon was leftover from yesterday's BLT's and all the veggies and herbs were from my garden, so they only things I "paid" for were the pasta and the butter. Try this- I would encourage you to sub other garden veggies you may have, but please heed my timing tips, as well as my tip not to stir when adding the tomatoes at the end- I think those make a huge difference in the end result.
Simple Summer Pasta
Makes 3 servings plus leftovers
- 1/2 bag whole wheat or brown rice egg noodles
- 2 T. butter
- 1 medium onion
- 1 medium zucchini (I consider medium 6-8 inches and not too fat)
- 1 large tomato, or two medium
- 6-10 leaves fresh basil
- 2 sprigs fresh oregano
- 6 slices of crisp cooked bacon (optional... but highly recommended)
As the onions caramelize, cut the zucchini into half moons (cut down the middle, then slice) and dice the tomato, herbs, and bacon and set to the side. When the onions are caramelized add the pasta to the pot of water(don't forget to set your timer!) and add the zucchini to the onion, stirring to coat with butter. Flip/stir the zucchini a few times as it cooks. When the timer is about to go off, pour the tomatoes over the top of the zucchini, but DO NOT STIR. You want the juices from the tomatoes to reach the bottom of the pan and caramelize, but you don't want to overcook the tomatoes. Drain your pasta, then return it to the pot. By this time most of the liquid from the tomatoes should have cooked off, and what is left should be nicely caramelized- poor the veggie mixture over the pasta, turn the burner to low, and place the pot over the still hot burner. Add the herbs and diced bacon and stir a few times until all is heated through and combined.
I was really surprised by how delicious this turned out. Yes, it's a very simple, obvious recipe for this time of year, but any other pasta primavera type dishes I have tried to make in the past have been boring and bland. This one pops with bright flavors, but is light at the same time. You can taste each element- the caramelized vegetables, the herbs, the bacon- nothing overshadows the rest.
If you don't have/don't want to use the bacon, I would recommend using some fresh grated Parmesan for a similar sharp salty contrast to the fresh ingredients.... or you could substitute bacon fat for the butter at the start of the dish to get that bacon-y flavor.
And be sure to check out the $5 Dinner Challenge, Real Food Wednesday at Kelly the Kitchen Kop, and the Pennywise Platter at the Nourishing Gourmet.