Cooking from the Garden: Farm Stand Pasta

Monday, July 1, 2013

It is hot, hot, hot around here and summer vegetables are ripe and ready at last.  The farm stands are now filled to the brim with tasty local produce like basil, squash, onions, and juicy red tomatoes.  When vegetables and herbs are this ripe they are perfect tossed into Italian farm stand pasta for a fresh and flavorful meal.   Here is a simple recipe that can be adapted to include vegetables that are locally available or growing in the garden.

Farm Stand Pasta

1/2 lb - 1 lb. Penne Pasta
Selection of farm stand vegetables (green beans, broccoli, zucchini, peas, summer squash, etc.) 
2 tbsp chopped, fresh basil 
2 tbsp chopped, fresh parsley
5 or 6 scallions 
2 cloves of garlic 
1 cup sliced mushrooms
2 cups chopped tomatoes, or cherry tomatoes
1 cup cooked, shredded or cubed chicken
2 tbsp chicken broth
2/ 3 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup butter
2/3 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese
salt and pepper

Cut garden vegetables into bite size pieces and cook in salted water until just tender.  Rinse in cool water then chill in refrigerator.  

Saute mushrooms, scallions, and garlic in 1-2 tbsp butter for 2-3 minutes, then add chopped tomatoes and cook another minute or two.  Add to chilled vegetables and mix in chopped parsley and basil.

Cook pasta according to the package directions. Heat 1/4 cup butter in a large dutch oven adding cream, chicken broth, cheese and salt and pepper to taste.

Toss vegetables and chicken in cream sauce until heated through then add cooked pasta and stir to combine.  Serve hot topped with extra parmigiano-reggiano cheese.

In addition to making farm stand pasta for guests last weekend, I also began experimenting with food photography and styling, which I've been wanting to learn more about for a while now.  Helene Dujardin's book  Plate to Pixel:  Digital Food Photography and Styling, has been my guide.  It contains so much fantastic information on the subject! This post shows a few of my recent food photos.  

For a complete Farm Stand Pasta dinner menu please visit my new Facebook page.

Have a great week!

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