Summery Pasta with a pesto sauce

DSC_0542Happy 4th of July folks! July is here and there are so many things to love about summer! For me the best things in summer apart from the lovely weather are arrival of fresh vegetables and fruits – the berries, fruits and all the summer vegetables. This year I didn’t do much vegetable gardening since we have a landscaping project going on making my backyard not amenable to any sort of gardening. Alas! But I still planted a couple tomato and a basil in pots. And what I did do was to sign up for our local CSA (community supported agriculture) program through one of local farms and that gives me farm fresh produce every week for the entire summer! I am so psyched! I find it particularly exciting to wait for the weekly basket and not knowing what I might find there makes it so enthralling! Oh the endless possibilities! I feel like a little kid waiting for her christmas presents! 🙂

So this last Friday my bounty consisted of zucchini, beets, cherry tomatoes, cherries, blueberries, raspberries and some fresh basil pesto! How lovely isn’t it? As soon as I saw the beets with their greens I knew I had to put them in either a soup or a pasta. That way the kids would eat them without even noticing! And how right I was! I made this wonderful wholesome pasta dish with zucchini, beets, beet greens, cherry tomatoes in a basil pesto marinara sauce!  It is amazing how using fresh ingredients can make such a big difference to an ordinary meal . In our case the humble pasta became the star attraction of our dinner meal where we also had a couple guests with us who enjoyed this dish as much as we did.!

I am bringing this delightful and colorful pasta dish to Fiesta Friday where Josette from thebrookcook and Jule from Hostess at heart are co-hosts this week!

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Summery Pasta with a pesto sauce

  • Servings: Serves about 8-10 people
  • Time: About 40 minutes
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups rotini pasta (or any other type of pasta)
  • 2 tbsp light olive oil
  • 2 medium size zucchini, cut into thin slices
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp red chilly flakes
  • salt
  • 2 medium size beets with their greens, (shred the greens and slice the beets into thin slices)12-14 cherry tomatoes, cut into halves lengthwise
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 small red onion, sliced
  • 2 tbsp basil pesto* (see note below)
  • 1 cup marinara sauce or tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • salt as needed

Method:

Boil the pasta in boiling water and salt for about 10 minutes (or according to package instructions). Drain the pasta and keep aside uncovered.

Take a large skillet or non stick flat pan.  Add 1 tbsp of the olive oil and heat it for about 30 seconds. Add the zucchini pieces and the crushed garlic and the chili flakes and sauté for about 2-3 minutes. Add a dash of salt and cover and cook on medium for about 4 minutes. Open lid and transfer the zucchini onto a plate.

Next add another tbsp of the love oil and then add the beets along with the greens and sauté for 2-3 minutes. then add the cumin powder and a pinch of salt and cover and cook for about 3 more minutes until the beets are tender. Open the lid and transfer the beets and the greens to the plate with the zucchini.

Next add the sliced onions and the cheery tomatoes to the same pan and let cook for about 2-3 minutes or until the onions are slightly translucent but still a little crispy. Turn heat off.

Take a large serving dish and add the cooked pasta to it. Add all the cooked vegetables and the pesto sauce, marinara sauce and the extra virgin olive oil and toss well.  Sprinkle additional salt or pesto sauce if needed.  Serve the pasta warm or cold.

*: I used the pesto sauce that came in my CSA packet. But the ingredients were fresh basil, parsley ,garlic and olive oil. You can blend all of these in a proportion that suits your taste buds!

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