Monday, May 20, 2013

Farmers' Market Pasta

Did you know that I'm obsessed with Farmers' Markets? It's actually something special in my neck of the woods because it's not something that is held year-round. It's only available one day a week from Mother's Day to Thanksgiving. Needless to say, hitting up the Farmers' Market is a real treat. I love being able to walk around, survey fresh produce, and sample nifty new products. Our market includes a pickle company that makes your mouth water as you walk by, an old Italian man that shouts at you to try his fresh bread and olive oil, and a fresh ravioli company that can't be matched. Walking around there is one of my favorite things to do.

I've been guilty of buying a bunch of produce and not knowing what to do with it. Well, if you ever find yourself in the same boat, I have a pasta that will knock your socks off. It's a pasta dish that can be made with ingredients from your local supermarket as well. Don't feel pressured to make this only if you go to a Farmers' Market. This pasta dish is too good to pass up. It's full of freshness and is a nice spring/summer change to your standard tomato sauce.

Here's what you do.
Farmers' Market Pasta with Leeks, Spinach, & Summer Squash
Adapted from Cook's Country
Serves 4

1 pound penne
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 pounds leeks, white and light green parts only, halved lengthwise, sliced thin, & washed thoroughly
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 yellow summer squash (about 8 oz each), halved lengthwise and sliced 1/4 inch thick
6 oz (6 cups) baby spinach, chopped coarse
2 ounces Pecorino Romano cheese, grated (1 cup), plus extra for serving
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1. Bring 4 quarts water to boil in Dutch oven. Add penne and 1 tablespoon salt and cook, stirring often, until al dente. Reserve 3/4 cup cooking water, then drain penne.

2. Heat oil in now empty pot over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add leeks and 1 teaspoon salt and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add squash and 1/4 cup reserved cooking water and cook, covered, until squash is tender, about 4 minutes. Stir in penne, spinach, Pecorino, basil, remaining 1/2 cup reserved cooking water, and butter until combined. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve, passing extra Pecorino separately.

NOTE: If you'd like to change this up a bit, substitute arugula for the spinach. Also, have fun with this. You can do one zucchini and one summer squash if you'd prefer.

That's all folks. Hope you enjoy this one!

xo, Stephanie

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