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 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