Friday, July 15, 2011

Grilled Veggie Pasta with Slow Roasted Tomatoes and Garlic Scape Pesto

I welcomed summer with open arms and a simple train of thought - I truly thought I was going to be doing all this fabulous cooking, sipping cocktails on the patio, letting the time just slip by slowly.....well, that clearly hasn't happened.  At all.  I can probably count on two hands how many meals I've actually put together, and can definitely count on one hand {in fact, closer to one finger} the number of times I've sat on the patio with cocktail in hand, lazily sipping as the leaves rustle in the light breeze, and the crickets create their evening music.  Instead we've been doing things - which isn't bad, I'm not complaining.  BUT, I could go for some summer now.  I want to be lazy for a bit.  I want to make popsicles and eat salad for dinner.  I want to eat lunch under the umbrella and maybe have a cold glass of white wine with it, too.  Is this too much to ask? 

CSA season is in full swing and I've got loads of goodies to create a healthy, fresh meal with.  Yahoooo!  Last week I was prepping easy meals for my husband before my work trip this week.  I cooked up a storm and could probably include five recipes just in this post alone.  But I've picked my favorites and will share those today. 

Garlic Scapes


Last week we got a lovely bunch of garlic scapes in our CSA box.  The first time I got these I had no clue what to do with them.  This year I decided to make pesto with them and use it in a pasta dish with grilled veggies and slow roasted tomatoes.  I fell in love with this dish.  So much flavor, so fresh, super healthy, and so summery for cripes sake!!

Slow roasted tomatoes.  Ina Garten {my absolute favorite} got me hooked on these.  She has an amazing recipe that I've used numerous times and it never fails me.  It's simple - slice your tomatoes, not too thin - and if you're using roma tomatoes, slice in half and spoon out the centers - drizzle with good olive oil, minced garlic, basil, salt, pepper, and one teaspoon of sugar.  Cook at 250 degrees for 2 hours and voila!  You now have slow roasted tomatoes that you can use for anything.  Use them in omelettes, add to sandwiches, salads, or pasta, eat them plain, whatever you want.  I cannot get enough of these. 

For the rest of the veggies, we grilled up some yellow summer squash and zucchini from our CSA as well.  Are you catching the theme yet?  Ya, I love my CSA.  It's all good.  I tossed all the veggies with some whole wheat penne, spicy Italian chicken sausage, and the garlic scape pesto, then topped with the slow roasted tomatoes and a sprinkle of pecorino.  I simply cannot explain how great this was.  mmm, mmm, mmm.  My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

I hope you have all had a chance to enjoy the summer!  I'm off to enjoy it now.....there's a cocktail calling my name on the patio....

Grilled Veggie Pasta with Slow Roasted Tomatoes and Garlic Scape Pesto
Recipe by A Toast to Taste
Photos by A Toast to Taste

For the Pesto
1 bunch of garlic scapes, about 15-20 scapes
1 cup fresh basil
1/2 cup fresh parsley
juice of half a lemon
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 cup parmessan cheese, grated
1/4 cup pine nuts
3/4 cup olive oil

For the Pasta
1 lb whole wheat pasta, short-cut like penne or rigatoni
1 yellow squash, cubed and grilled
1 zucchini, cubed and grilled
6 green onions, grilled
4 spicy Italian chicken sausages, grilled
slow roasted tomatoes, as many as you want, I used 7
pecorino romano cheese, grated

In a food processor fitted with a steel blade, add garlic scapes, basil, parsley, garlic, lemon juice, pine nuts, salt, pepper and parmessan cheese.  Puree.  With the processor running, slowly drizzle in olive oil until well blended.  Set aside.

Cook pasta according to directions.  Drain and pour into large mixing bowl.  Add grilled squash, zucchini, green onions, sausage, and pesto.  Stir together until pasta is coated with pesto.  Top with tomatoes and a sprinkle of pecorino.  Serve and enjoy.

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