This weekend is the unofficial start of summer here in the US, even though actual summer doesn’t start for another month. This quick and easy summer pasta lives up to its name. It’s great for hot, sticky weather (which we always get plenty of here in NY). The dish can be eaten hot or cold, and since there’s no mayonnaise, it’s perfect for picnics or traveling. And, it’s good either for a quick lunch or a light dinner. Pairs beautifully with a cold glass of Chardonnay.
I’ve adapted this dish from a recipe for summer pasta in Jacques Pépin’s Fast Food My Way cookbook.The only thing you have to cook is the pasta. The rest is just a bit of chopping and maybe shredding or grating the cheese. I’ve used parmesan, but put in anything you like that works. It could be mozzarella, or Fontina too.
He says to warm the veggies first, but I didn’t. I don’t like freshly cooked tomatoes; they taste odd to me (kind of like some people think coriander tastes like soap). If you don’t have that issue, go right ahead and heat the veggies, for thirty seconds or so, in the microwave.
The original recipe called for zucchini, but having none, I went with some bell pepper instead. So, use whatever vegetables you like or have handy. For example, use zucchini, carrots, some cooked eggplant, a handful of spinach, or a mixture of bell peppers (I love the mini ones). This is not baking, so exact ingredients and careful measuring aren’t crucial.
One more thing, as is, this is a light, easy meal. If you want to make it heartier, add some protein to make it more filling.
Quick and Easy Summer Pasta
- 4 oz. dried pasta (preferably short, such as fusilli)
- 1 quart water (for cooking pasta)
- 4 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
- 2-3 sliced mushrooms
- 1/2 C green bell pepper, diced
- pinch salt
- grinding black pepper
- 1 T plus 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 T grated parmesan cheese
- 1T fresh basil, shredded
- Boil the water and add the pasta. Cook about 10-12 minutes, until al dente.
- While the pasta is cooking, add the tomatoes, mushrooms, bell pepper, salt, pepper, and olive oil to a medium size bowl. Toss everything together.
- Once the pasta is ready, drain it, and add it to the bowl with the veggies.
- Add the grated cheese and the basil.
- Toss everything together.
Quick and Easy Summer Pasta Substitutions and Variations
- swap the pasta for some crusty bread (and transform it into panzanella)
- add some green olives castelvetrano would work nicely)
- toss in some diced Genoa salami
- include some pre-cooked leftover chicken, cut in strips
- add chunks of hard boiled egg
More Quick and Easy Summer Pasta Recipes
Egg and Pasta Gratin with Chives
Crispy eggs, gooey cheese, and tender pasta combine for great comfort food. Perfect for a quick meal, or a light lunch.
Spaghetti with Green Olives and Lemon Panko
Welcome warm weather and wake up your taste buds with this light, zesty, earthy pasta dish. It’s ready in 30 minutes.
This recipe is inspired by…a mystery. Seems Robert B. Parker liked to cook. So, he included this in one of his novels. Not the usual source for a recipe, but quite good, and a nice change from pricey pine nuts.
Pasta alla Norma with Eggplant
Take advantage of summer veggies with this slightly spicy pasta dish. It’s got sweet tomatoes, creamy fork-tender eggplant, and a dash of red pepper flakes for a kick.