Summer Veggie Pasta
When my husband and I bought our new house, one of the first things I did was start looking for our closest farmer’s market. It’s always been part of our weekend ritual…we wake up early, get our produce for the week, plan on making a big brunch when we get home, and scrap that plan when we see a good food truck. It turned out our new farmer’s market was super nearby and looked wonderful. The Alemany Farmer’s Market is, in my humble opinion, the best in San Francisco. It’s got everything, including all the Southeast Asian veggies my husband grew up with (which I will cover excessively in future posts).
It’s hard to say what my favorite season is at the farmer’s market – in Northern California, we’re blessed to have great local produce year round. But a solid contender would be the late summer – everything is just so wonderful.
And nothing says summer quite like an afternoon barbecue. My husband is generally (but not always) the meat master, but I can’t let the grill go cold without putting some vegetables on there as well. Corn, zucchini and peppers are among my favorites. And without fail, I make more than the two of us will possibly eat in one sitting. And what’s better for leftover veggies than pasta? Not much, right?
This time around, I’m going to cook the vegetables under a broiler to get that wonderful charred flavor, but if you feel inspired to light up the grill you’ve got me 100% on your team!
Anchovy paste is the secret ingredient here. I’ve given this recipe to friends, they think they don’t like anchovies so they skip that part and then tell me it didn’t taste quite right. Unless you’re allergic or a vegetarian…please don’t skip the anchovies!
Preheat your broiler (to high if you have the option). Chop zucchini and red peppers into medium size chunks; cut cherry tomatoes in half; and cut corn from the cob. Place vegetables into a large bowl and mix with 1 T. of vegetable oil and a bit of salt and pepper.
Cover a baking sheet in foil, and spread the vegetables in an even layer. Broil them for 20-25 minutes on the top oven rack; turning them frequently (especially towards the end). Get an even char, without burning them. This is entirely dependent on your taste, take them out whenever they look right to you. I love my veggies a little extra blackened, my husband is coming around to it...but I remember the look on his face the first time I put the corn back on the grill after he took it off (three times) - "you're burning it!" Once they're cooked to your liking, remove from the broiler and set aside.
Cook the pasta to package instructions. If it's done before everything else, don't worry, drain the pasta, return it to the pot and then add a touch of olive oil to keep it from sticking together.
While the pasta & veggies cook, make your anchovy butter sauce. Heat the olive oil over medium-low heat, then add the minced garlic and shallots. You don't want the oil to simmer quite yet, 'low & slow' is the key for this sauce. Once the garlic & shallots are softened and smelling good, add the anchovy paste and red pepper flakes. Keep cooking low & slow until it's quite caramelized. Lower the heat (if possible), then add the butter, 1 T. at a time. Stir it constantly with a small rubber spatula, wait until each tablespoon of butter melts before adding the next one.
Add your anchovy butter sauce and broiled vegetables (don't forget any accumulated liquids from your baking sheet - yum!) to the warm pasta and stir well. Then add your cheese and fresh herbs.
This dish can be served immediately, but it also makes a pretty killer next day pasta salad.