Fresh garden vegetables give pasta the flavor of summer
For years most American cooks contented themselves with a small repertoire of tomato sauces. Then the word "pasta" came into our lives and cooks became exuberant with sauces.Skip to next paragraph
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Now that almost every grocery store has stocked a variety of pasta shapes, people are adding everything to the sauces from caviar to garden vegetables.
To treat a handsome bumpy plate of cavatelli to a plain tomato sauce is a letdown. The special curving shape needs something more -- something that celebrates its uniqueness, something with a small ingredient to get caught in the curve.
This year the pinnacle of chic is a Pasta Primavera, using the smallest of vegetables from the spring garden. The most posh collections include baby asparagus tips, but cooks prepare the dish all year long, tossing in whatever is fresh and crunchy, literally "tutto giardino," or the whole garden.
here are some recipes, none of them demanding that the rules be strictly kept. The Vermicelli With Broccoli would be equally good with cauliflower, but you'd need a handful of chopped parsley to give the finished dish some visual spark.
The message is to give way to temptation, but keep a steady hand. Replace the eggplant with green tomatoes in the Eggplant and Black Olive Sauce. I've never done it, but doesn't it sound good? Invent.The only thing you have to lose is plain old tomato sauce. Eggplant and Black Olive Sauce on Rigatoni 2 small eggplants weighing about 3/4 pound each 1 onion, finely chopped 1 clove garlic, minced 1/4 cup olive oil 1/2 teaspoon rosemary Freshly ground pepper to taste 4 large ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and Chopped 1 tablespoon tomato paste 1/4 cup pitted, chopped black oliveS, prefer ably Mediterranean-style Salt if needed 12 ounces rigatoni 1/2 cup chopped parsley 1/2 cup grated Romano cheese
Peel eggplant and cut in 1/2-inch cubes. Place in colander and salt liberally. Set in the sink and allow to drain for 30 minutes. Rinse and dry. Heat olive oil in large skillet. Add eggplant, onion, and garlic and saute over moderately high heat until ingredients are lightly browned. Add rosemary and pepper and stir for 30 seconds.
Add tomatoes and tomato paste if you feel the tomatoes aren't ripe enough, and simmer partly covered for 15 minutes. Add black olives and simmer 5 minutes more. In the meantime, boil rigatoni in plenty of salted water until al dente. Drain and place in a warm serving bowl. Top with half the eggplant sauce and toss. Top with the remaining sauce and sprinkle with parsley and cheese. Serves 4 to 6. Red and Green Pepper Sauce on Cavatelli 1 large firm green pepper 1 large firm red pepper 1 hot green pepper, about 6 inches long or 6 pepperoncini, stemmed, seeded and cut in julienne 1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced 1 clove garlic, minced 1 teaspoon oregano 1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground to taste 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar 1/4 cup olive oil 2 medium ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped 1/4 pound mozzarella, coarsely grated 12 ounces cavatelli or medium shells
Clean and seed green, red, and hot peppers. Cut in fine julienne, or shred in salad shredder or food processor. Combine in small bowl with scallion, garlic, oregano, salt, pepper, vinegar, and olive oil. Cover and marinate in refrigerator overnight, or at least 4 hours at room temperature. If refrigerated, bring sauce to room temperature before continuing.