Maria’s Poolside Pasta

poolside pasta *?

This is one of my favorite summertime pasta recipes.  I already know what you’ll be thinking when you read the list of ingredients.  “Not another pasta recipe using cherry tomatoes and/or zucchini!”  I understand.  It is a bit much, but I simply must share this recipe, too.   You’ll be glad that I did.  I love these ingredients, especially in the summertime.  What makes all these recipes different from one another is simply the preparation.  There are probably countless other ways to combine these wonderful flavors of summer, but I promise this will be my last……until next summer.

My first memory of this recipe was at a Sunday dinner, poolside at my sister-in-law and brother-in-law’s house.  The setting was beautiful.  We sat under a beautiful trellis, overlooking their pool and gardens.  The perfume from the flowers was heavenly.  Just when we thought things could not get any better, out came this beautiful bowl of pasta.  I can still remember the beauty of this dish, with the colorful green and yellow zucchini, tomatoes, basil and pesto sauce.   But it was the aroma that really drew me in. Everything smelled so fresh and fragrant.  It was love at first bite for me.  I was fortunate enough to have enjoyed this dish on several other occasions, poolside, but eventually I was smart enough to watch my sister-in-law make it.  It wouldn’t be summer, if I didn’t recreate her dish at least once.  And when I do, I don’t even notice that I don’t have a pool. I’m just soooo happy with each delectable bite!  I know you will be too.

RECIPE:  serves 4

1 pound of farfalle pasta, Maria’s usual choice, but any short pasta will do.  I used mezze rigatoni here

2 pounds cherry tomatoes, halved  or quartered

4 medium zucchini, yellow and green, sliced 1/4 inch rounds

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil 

1/2 cup pesto sauce (store bought is fine, but homemade is better…see my archives for recipe)

several fresh basil leaves, torn, never cut.

1 tsp sea salt

1/2 cup pasta water, reserved

grated Parmigiano cheese

1.  Put olive oil and tomatoes in a large skillet.  Sprinkle with the sea salt.  Cover and cook on low heat for 10 minutes, or until the tomatoes start to break down a bit.

2.  Add the zucchini, stir and cover once again for 5 minutes or so, until the zucchini starts to soften a bit.  Add the pesto sauce.  Stir well, and heat through for about 5 more minutes.  

3.  Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Cook the pasta until al dente.  Before draining, reserve the pasta water and set aside.

4.  Add the pasta to the sauce in the skillet and toss well.  Add some of the reserved pasta water if you feel necessary.  Add some of the grated cheese, the basil leaves and put in a large serving bowl.

5.  Serve with grated cheese.

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