Simple Summer Pasta

Nothing screams summer like all the bright, fresh, juicy produce in the markets right meow.  I can’t walk by without being tempted by the succulent tomatoes, large squash, and heavy green watermelons.  Amongst a plethora of other reasons, this is why summer is my favorite time of year.  I just celebrated my 25th birthday last weekend.  I’m 25?

Come again?

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I was standing in the middle of the hygiene aisle in the grocery store picking out a new toothbrush and naturally, I reached for the pink vibrating Hello Kitty model made for youngsters who are probably fighting their mothers at every turn of the brush.  I placed it in my basket and turned to skip on my merry way back to the delicious produce section when a horrifying thought popped into my head.

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“Cory, you are 25 years old.  You can’t just use Hello Kitty toothbrushes.”  I looked at the toothbrush.  It looked at me.

And I put it back on the shelf, replacing it with a boring blue Oral-B.  But yanno what never gets old and boring?

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 Carbohydrates.

This simple pasta bursting at the noodles with bright fresh summery veggies is so good, so easy, so noms.  It’s got chewy roasted eggplant, crunchy toasted pine nuts, red ripe tomatos, and garlic sauteed raindbow chard.  Not to mention the organic flax whole wheat pasta…& luckily no fancy shmancy time-gobbling sauce.

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It’s summer, let’s keep it simple here guys.  No body likes a dinner that’s more high maintenance than Jennifer Lopez.

It’s just slice and dice, toss and boil, fresh, healthy, etc etc. Here is what the eggplant should resemble upon roasting, it becomes soft and a bit transparent.  Hi, summer.  I am so glad you’re here.  Now, get to work on my legs, these babies aren’t going to tan themselves. Spank you.

 

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Simple Summer Pasta

  • 1 package of dried pasta (I used organc flax whole wheat fettuccine)
  • 1 whole eggplant
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes or 2 whole tomatoes, diced
  • 1 bunch of rainbow chard
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 tsp italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • salt/pepper
  • 2 T olive oil
  1. First and foremost, get that pasta cooking.  Bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil and dump in dry pasta noodles.  Cover and cook for about 7-8 minutes (a little less if you prefer al dente which means it has the tiniest bit of crunch to it still).  When it’s tender enough, drain and set aside.
  2. Toast the pine nuts by tossing them onto a sheet of foil (making sure they’re spread evenly for even browning) and popping them in the toaster oven.  Another way to do this is spread them evenly on a cookie sheet and bake at 375 degrees.  In either scenario, it should take around 5 minutes of cook time, and they are done when they begin to turn light brown.  Stir them a few times to redistribute the heat.  When they are done, sprinkle with a little salt.
  3. If you used your oven for the pine nuts, wondaaaaaful, because now you’re going to use it for the eggplant.  Begin by slicing the eggplant into very thin, even-as-possible strips. Brush a cookie sheet with a tablespoon of olive oil and lay the slices down.  Sprinkle with the thyme, italian seasoning, and a dash of salt and pepper.  Bake for around 18 minutes.  Keep checking so they don’t burn and see photo above so you can tell if they are done!
  4. Next, mince the garlic cloves very finely.  Chop up the chard into tiny pieces.  I chopped up the stem as well as the leaves 🙂 Grab a hefty sized skillet and heat to medium on the stove.  When hot, pour a tablespoon of olive oil in, add the garlic, and saute until the garlic becomes light brown and fragrant.  Add the chopped chard and saute for about 10 minutes, until the chard wilts.  Sprinkle salt and pepper over wilted chard.
  5. Combine toasted nuts, cooked eggplant, chard, and pasta.  Chop cherry tomatoes in half and garnish the pasta.  Or if you used diced tomatoes, throw them on top.  Serve while warm. Cheers.
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