A pasta dish for all seasons
I love watching the seasons change through the produce I see in the farmers' market. Even in Southern California, where I live, it's amazing to witness new crops arriving as those of previous months begin to disappear. Those market stall offerings are among my primary inspirations as a chef.
Right now, springtime is drawing to a close as summer comes ever closer. With that in mind, I thought it might be interesting, and delicious fun, to revisit one of my favorite food combinations and recast it in a way that reflects this particular time of year.
You may sometimes see the following recipe for pasta with fresh vegetables referred to as "pasta primavera," literally springtime pasta. But that's really a catchall for any combination of pasta and fresh vegetables. In fact, I've seen restaurants serve pasta primavera in autumn or even winter, trying to offer their guests springtime on a plate.
I'd rather make my vegetable sauces with ingredients you actually might find in the farmers' market. That kind of combination creates an especially vibrant flavor. Nothing, after all, tastes fresher than the freshest, in season, locally grown produce.
You should be able to find all of the main ingredients in the market right now. And you can certainly substitute other great vegetables of the season.
Also included is a little pureed roasted garlic, which you can buy in small jars now in the condiments section of many well-stocked markets. Otherwise, you can easily make it at home. Just lightly coat a whole unpeeled garlic head with some olive oil, place in a small baking dish, and roast in a 375 F (190 C) oven until very tender when carefully and gently squeezed while wearing an oven glove, 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Cool at room temperature, and then cut the head crosswise in half with a serrated knife and squeeze out the pulp or scoop it out with a knife tip or tiny teaspoon. Store in a covered container and use within three to four days.
I hope you enjoy adding this recipe to your spring-into-summer repertoire, and go on enjoying it during all the warm and bountiful months ahead!
PASTA WITH SPRING AND SUMMER VEGETABLES