I’ve laid off my complaints about fall not arriving yet – partly because you all aren’t ready for summer to end; partly because the highs are only in the 70s this week, so I’m happier; and mostly because I can still enjoy all my favorite summer produce! I’ve been in a few conversations recently about how lucky Californians are solely because of our ease of access to fresh produce year round. Farmers markets happen every week in most parts of the state, especially LA. Since summer lends itself to fresh produce across the country, however, we all have to rejoice in the fruits and vegetables summer brings with it. Now while I love my produce, I also love easy meals and this one pot summer vegetable pasta is the epitome of everything we need right now. . .
Summer Vegetable Pasta
I don’t eat a lot of pasta, but I do enjoy it. If you remember my one pot peas and pasta or my veggie-packed pasta salad, then you know I love pasta and I pack it FULL of veggies, so it isn’t such a carb-overload. This time I paired rigatoni, a heartier pasta to be sure, with fresh greens beans and asparagus. I ended it all with fresh cherry tomatoes, a great olive oil (I just discovered Brightland Olive Oil), and some fresh basil. It was great for dinner and just as delicious for lunch the next day! In this summer vegetable pasta, you could easily use a pasta with a bit of protein in it. I’ve seen quinoa pasta, chickpea pasta, etc. They’d all be great!
What is a “quick drain” of pasta?
You’ll notice in the recipe below, I said to quickly drain the pasta. What does that mean exactly? I see so many people drain every possible droplet of water from the pasta before adding sauce or putting it back in the pan. I’ve also seen pasta drained and doused in cold water (shutter). That pasta water is your best friend for getting sauce to stick to the pasta and for getting your sauce and pasta flavors to blend harmoniously. When I say a quick drain, I mean to drain most of the water (after you’ve pulled off that 1 cup), and immediately put in back into the pot. I don’t even let every single bit of pasta leave the pot – there’s no need!
ONE POT SUMMER VEGETABLE PASTA
Pasta can be a hearty meal, but it doesn't have to be unhealthy. Loaded with fresh produce, this summer vegetable pasta is fresh and flavorful. It's a one pot dinner recipe you'll be craving year round!
- 1 pound pasta rigatoni used here
- 1 lb. fresh green beans trimmed
- 12 oz. asparagus
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes
- olive oil
- fresh pepper
- optional toppings: lemon zest chili flakes, fresh basil
- In a large pot with a lid, boil 8 cups of water.
- Meanwhile remove hearty base of stem from asparagus. Cut asparagus and green beans into 1-2" pieces. Cut tomatoes in half and set aside.
- When water is boiling, add 1 teaspoon salt and 1 tablespoon olive oil to water. Add pasta. Cook 10 minutes*.
- Add green beans and asparagus stems. Cook another 3-5 minutes until tender. Remove 1 cup pasta water, set aside. Add asparagus tips. Drain veggies and pasta quickly (retaining some of the cooking water is preferable).
- Add pasta water. Combine. Drizzle good quality olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. I used 1-2 tablespoons olive oil.
- *Because pasta cooking times vary, check the package. Cook pasta until barely al dente and then add in vegetables to finish cooking together. The addition of the vegetables will lower the water temperature so it's ok if the cooking time is longer than stated on the package.