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There are endless ways of making summetime pasta with mouthwatering sauces because of the season's abundance of delicious fresh vegetables and spices.

PASTA D'ESTATE

(Summertime Pasta)

Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 1 hour
Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 onion
½ cup fresh basil
¼ cup olive oil
2 bell peppers (1 yellow, 1 green)
3 small zucchini
2 cups fresh tomatoes, cubed (or a 15-oz. can of diced tomatoes)
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
Salt and red pepper to taste

1 pound package shell pasta
¼ cup grated cheese


Bring a medium stockpot of water to a fast boil.

Peel, wash and dice the onion, wash and coarsely chop the basil.

In a medium skillet, sauté the onion and basil in the olive oil for 5 minutes at medium heat, stirring frequently.

Wash and cut the peppers in half; remove the seeds and white membranes. Cut them into 1½-inch squares. Add them to the skillet, cook at medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

Wash the zucchini, remove both ends, cut them in ¼-inch wheels, add them to the skillet and continue cooking for 5 more minutes, stirring frequently.

Wash and cube the tomatoes, add them to the skillet with the red pepper and salt to taste. Cook on medium heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. If it looks like it is drying add water ¼ cup at a time.

Add the pasta and salt to the boiling water and stir immediately. Cover the stockpot, and bring it back to a fast boil. Uncover it and cook according to the direction on the package or to the desired tenderness, stirring occasionally.

Drain the pasta, place it in a serving bowl, and pour the sauce over the top. Stir and serve hot with grated cheese.



For those who don't like the skins from the fresh tomatoes, chopping them smaller will make the skins less apparent in the sauce. One very easy way of peeling the tomatoes is to freeze them in a plastic bag about 3 to 4 hours before use. Immerse them in warm water, peel , cube and add them to the sauce. Substituting the canned tomatoes is a quick and easy fix, but there is no substitute for the fresh taste.



A long time ago my grandparents had a vegetable garden just at the other edge of the property opposite their house. Sometimes grandma sent us "all'orto" (to the vegetable garden) to get something she needed for her cooking. I remember we had so much fun stealing the first cucumbers or the sweet peas, but the fava beans were our favorites. When she found all the favas plants trampled and the pods gone, mostly because they were picked too early... it was murder! It didn't take much to make Grandma "mad" and she chased after us with a switch. The worst was when she complained to our parents as if we had committed the worst crimes.


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