Sunday, August 21, 2011

Summer Pasta Salad

I have a confession to make.

Last year, I did not go to a single farmer's market.

I know! For shame! It was a weird summer- I started a new job and just didn't have a spare minute. I should've found one on the weekends to go to, but I was lame and didn't. Boo to that.

This summer is better! I've been to a few (Hingham has a great one- shout out to Freitas Farm for stellar blueberries and excellent customer service) and the husband has hit our town's farmer's market a few times. He even made blueberry jam (best.husband.ever).

Flashback to the 4th of July- Stowe, Vermont has an especially vibrant farmer's market that has more than just raw veggies.

Steamed veggie dumpling, bean dumpling, and a shrimp eggroll.

Fresh ice cream!

Maple cone!

Not sure what this guy was selling, but you can see the resemblance between Arthur and his sign.

With all the goodies, whipping up a satisfying pasta salad at our campsite was a breeze.

Start a pot of water on your Coleman stove and bring it to a boil. Add one pound of rotini. You could also use farfalle- I think bite-size pasta is a better choice for a pasta salad. Makes it easier to eat!

Start with fresh from the ground radishes- dirt included! Just give them a good wash. Don't they remind you of the Mandrakes from Harry Potter? Nerd alert!

Slice them thinly and add to a large bowl.

Wash your fresh basil and rip it into small pieces. Add to the radishes.

Wash and chop your fresh zucchini- add it to the pasta in the last 2-3 minutes of cooking- cooks them just enough but keeps them crunchy.

Chop up some cheddar. Funny story- I bought this at home and drove it all the way back to Vermont for this dish. Some serious food miles for such a small piece of cheese.

Here, in spirit, is some red onion. Chop it up and add to the bowl o' veggies.

Once the pasta and zucchini is cooked, drain it and put it back in the hot pan. Add the radishes, basil, red onion, and cheddar to the pasta and zucchini and toss to coat. The cheese will melt slightly and coat everything. Instant dressing!

Serve alongside some foccacia and dig in!

Summer Pasta Salad

1 pound short pasta- whatever makes your skirt fly up
2-3 cups chopped fresh summer veg- experiment with squash, peas, beets, tomato- whatever looks good at the farmers market. Note- not all of these veggies will need to cook with the pasta.
1 medium red onion, chopped
1 large bunch of fresh basil, ripped
8 oz. cheese- other option include goat, feta, Gouda, Gruyere, Swiss
salt and pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add a handful of salt and toss in pasta.

While the pasta cooks, chop up veggies. For any veggies that need slight cooking, add them to the pasta in the last 2-3 minutes of boiling. Once pasta and veggies are al dente, drain and return to the hot pot. Do not return pan to heat.

Add other veggies, herbs, and cheese to the pasta/veggie mixture in the hot pot. Toss to coat. Add salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle with olive oil, if you have some on hand.

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