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
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!