A pasta seasoned only with olive oil, salt, and pepper - letting the fresh produce from the Farmers Market take the spotlight.
No planning required - pick up anything that looks fresh and tasty from the Farmers Market. Then give it a quick saute before tossing it in the pasta along with mozzarella cheese and fresh basil.
I like to stick to veggies that barely need to cook so I can have dinner ready fast. Examples are:
- Green beans
What is fregola?
If you haven't tried it yet, this is a perfect reason to do so. It's a pasta about the size and shape of a small pea. It has a slightly nutty flavor thanks to being toasted after it is dried. It stays slightly chewier than other pastas, making it the best pasta choice for soups, in my opinion.
The recipe is for 2 people as a main dish, or 4 as a side. It double easily. Also note that this is ⅓ of a cup of dry pasta per person, and if you like a really big plate of pasta (or have teenagers), increase it to ½ a cup per person.
- 1 cup fregola sarda see substitution note
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 yellow onion
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes
- 4 cloves garlic
- 4 ounces cherry tomatoes
- 1 ear corn
- 6 ounces beans or peas
- 8 baby sweet peppers see note
- 4 ounces mozzarella see note
- 1 bunch basil
- GET STARTEDGet a small or medium pot of water boiling.Prep the veggies: Cut kernels off the corn cob. Cut other veggies into large bite-size pieces (half cherry tomatoes, halve or quarter peppers, etc). Dice the garlic and onion. Slice the basil into ribbons.Tear the mozzarella into bite size chunks.
- MAKE THE PASTAWhen the water boils, add the pasta and cook for 12-15 minutes, or whatever the directly say on the package. When it is done, drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil on it (that's the 'sauce'), season with salt and pepper, and set aside off the heat.
- MAKE THE VEGGIESIn a large pan, add a little olive oil. When it is hot, add in the onion & red pepper, and saute until it starts to soften, about 5 minutes. Add in the garlic and saute for 2 minutes (adding it in too early might burn it, making it bitter).Next add in all of the veggies and half the basil. Season with salt and pepper.If the pan is too dry, add ¼ cup of water. If it is not too dry, the veggies will release some liquid into the pan as they cook, to keep them from burning. Cook for 5-10 minutes - until the veggies are as soft as you like them.
- COMBINE & SERVEYou can mix the fregola into the veggie pan if you want, or keep it separate and place the veggies on top.Top with the mozzarella cheese and remaining basil. Enjoy!
- Fregola sarda substitution: look for Israeli couscous near the other couscous - it's larger and similar to fregola.
- Baby sweet peppers: depending on availability and price, sub in a red, orange, or yellow bell pepper.
- Mozzarella: look for mozzarella in a ball or log or anything not shredded. It works better that way 🙂
Recipe tips & tricks for the Farmers Market
- How to pick out the best summer produce at the markets: tomatoes, corn, peas, peppers, green beans, and zucchini.
- Fregola sarda - if you can't find it, try looking on Amazon (I often buy this brand of fregola as I have a hard time finding it in local grocery stores). Israeli couscous is a decent substitution, and so is ditalini pasta (tiny tubes). You'll find it by couscous, not by pasta.
- Peppers: feel free to sub in regular sweet bell peppers. But get a red, orange or yellow one, which will be sweeter. Green ones are slightly bitter and don't work as well in this recipe, if you're asking my opinion!
- Mozzarella - try to find the kind that is in a ball or log and tear it up. If you have only worked with pre-shredded mozzarella, branch out with this recipe. "Regular" mozzarella (what I call it), is tasty and fun to work with.
- Easy to make! Really, this is forgiving like most pastas. Make a pasta, toss it with olive oil, add some veggies.