This fresh and zesty dinner was made in homage to the delights abounding in this season’s fields and gardens. When I pick up my CSA crop share each Wednesday (see top right of blog for more information), it is hard to believe that Summer is winding down!
I had planned to cook fish along with whatever was in my Crop Share Box, however ended up being more in love with the vegetables than the fish. I had an abundance of peppers and green beans, along with the most beautiful box of cherry tomatoes. I decided to make the colorful array of veggies the stars of the evening.
I made a very simple saute, pairing thyme and basil from my garden with lemon juice and butter to bring all of the flavors together. It worked like a dream and every bite was a festival of taste.
I also was surprised by some lovely lemon cucumbers, and had to try one of those out also. Rather than disguise the taste with lots of other ingredients, I sliced them thinly and added a sprinkle of sea-salt flakes and a grind of pepper to each one. This, you have to try for yourself!
Eating a vegetarian dinner was a pleasant change for me, a delight to my vegetarian friend who joined us, and a bit of a challenge for my meat-lovin’ son! I ended up satisfying him (and my man Dave) by topping their dinners with a couple of softly fried eggs. Everyone was pleased.
You will need: 3 tbs extra-virgin olive oil, 1 green pepper, thinly sliced into stripes, 1 red pepper, thinly sliced into stripes, , 1 yellow pepper, thinly sliced into stripes, 1 Anaheim peppers, thinly sliced, 1 hot pepper, any variety, thinly sliced, (optional – I used a really hot cayenne pepper from the garden), OR, if you have wonderful seasonal peppers such as long green or red peppers, purple peppers, mild Anaheim peppers….use a variety of those, 1 bunch green beans, ( about 30 or so), topped and tailed if necessary (I just tailed, as they were quite tender-looking), 1 large clove garlic, finely chopped, 1 carrot, thinly sliced into rounds, 1 dry pint cherry tomatoes, left whole, 6 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed, 8 basil leaves, chopped, juice of 1 lemon, 1 tsp sea-salt, 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper flakes, (optional), freshly ground black pepper, 1 lb penne pasta, 1 cup cooked pasta water, (reserved from cooked pasta), 2 tbs cold unsalted butter, Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, freshly grated.
1 – Prep all ingredients as instructed above and put big pot of cold water on stove top (to blanch your green beans). When water is boiling add the beans, cover pot and time for 4 minutes. Drain and set beans aside.
*Put pot back on with water for pasta and bring to a boil. Cook pasta when you add the beans to the peppers (see # 3)
2 – Put big saute pan on medium heat and add oil. When it is hot add all of the peppers, carrot, and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally for 12 minutes.
3 – Add the blanched green beans, thyme and basil leaves and continue to cook for another 4 or so minutes. Add the lemon juice, salt, pepper, and butter and stir until everything has melted and been evenly distributed.
4 – When pasta is cooked, scoop out 1 cup of pasta water before draining into a colander. Immediately toss the hot pasta, along with the whole cherry tomatoes, into the pan of veggies. Add the pasta water, stir and taste for more seasoning.
Serve by presented to the table in a big warm serving bowl, or divide between warm shallow bowls and pass the grated parm cheese around the table.