Last week I was finally able to get a taste of this year’s first tomatoes. To celebrate the occasion, I made pasta. With canned sauces galore in supermarkets, pasta is unfortunately often perceived as a “fall-back” dish, something to make when one is tired. But with fresh vegetables on hand, I find there are few vehicles better than pasta and a bit of olive oil to showcase them.
If you find this dish simple, I share it in hopes that you will get as excited as I am about the arrival of summer’s bounty. For those curious as to how I acquired pesto so early in the year, I obtained it from my freezer — last year’s lemon basil pesto.
2 servings whole wheat pasta
2 generous tablespoons pesto
1 medium zucchini, sliced
10-15 cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
6-8 button mushrooms
A small handful of walnuts
Light shaving of cheese (I used white vintage cheddar)
Cracked pepper and salt (if needed)
Cook the whole wheat pasta until al dente.
While the pasta cooks, saute each vegetable separately in a bit of olive oil. The zucchini should be cooked until tender and the skin begins to blister, the mushrooms until golden brown, and the tomatoes just kissed with heat. If you wish, you can also add the handful of walnuts to the pan, but just for a moment and with a watchful eye to avoid burning.
When the pasta has reached al dente, drain it, then add a bit of olive oil to avoid clumping. Stir in the pesto, coating each noodle and fold in the vegetables. Taste for salt, then divide the pasta between two plates. Top with the walnuts and a shaving of cheese and serve immediately.