Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Creamy Summer Herb & Veggie Pasta

I'm pleasantly surprised to share that my picnic table-top herb and tomato garden is (wait for it)…still thriving!  I rarely manage to keep things alive this long, so i'm feeling pretty proud of myself. 

This week I suddenly found myself with a plethora of perfectly ripe summer tomatoes.  And by plethora, I mean 4.   Since i've already made my all time favorite Tomato-Mozz sandwiches twice (they're just that good), I wanted to switch it up and put together a hearty pasta dish that showcases not only my tomatoes, but also my summer herbs.

This creamy, delicious pasta is easy to put together, and makes the perfect summer dinner.  I started by roasting all of my favorite summer vegetables: squash, zucchini, sweet vidalia onions, and of course my summer tomatoes.  While the veggies were roasting, I blended up an 'almost-pesto' mixture of basil, oregano, lemon zest, walnuts, and olive oil.  After boiling some pasta, I stirred in bit of fresh spinach, the herb mixture and a touch of cream and parmesan. 

The best part about this dish is that it can easily be altered to incorporate any of your favorite seasonal vegetables (corn, asparagus, snow peas).  Just throw in your favorite veggies, choose a pasta shape, and get cooking! 

"Almost Pesto"(measurement's don't need to be exact)
*8 basil leaves
*2 heaping tbsp. fresh oregano
*zest of 1 lemon
*3 tbsp. walnuts
*1/4 c. olive oil
*1 large (or 2 small) garlic cloves
*salt, pepper

*2 zucchini, chopped
*1 yellow squash, chopped
*4 tomatoes, chopped
*1 vidalia onion, chopped
*2 tbsp. olive oil
*salt, pepper

*2/3 lb. orrecchiete pasta (or 2/3 of the box)
*1/3 c. half and half
*1/3 c. parmesan cheese
*2 c. fresh spinach, roughly chopped

To prepare the veggies, preheat the oven to 375.  Place all of the veggies on a cookie sheet and toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Roast for 20-30 minutes, stirring once, or until the veggies are tender.

Prepare the "Almost-Pesto" by combining all ingredients in a food processor and blending until smooth. 

Prepare the pasta according package directions.  Drain, return to the pot, then stir in veggies, half of the pesto mixture, fresh chopped spinach (it will wilt against the heat of the pasta), parmesan, and half and half.  Stir the pasta together, taste, and add more of the pesto mixture to taste (I used almost all of it).  Enjoy! 

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