What’s your favorite comfort food?
Mac and cheese? Chicken soup? Roast beef with mashed potatoes and gravy?
I’m not sure why but it seems like most comfort foods are winter foods. I guess we need more comforting in the winter. It’s cold outside, it’s dark outside, January is six months long, colds and flu hit big time, people need comfort. People need cozy.
Well, here’s a comfort food for summer. Ninety degrees outside but you’re feelin’ a little blue? Creamy Summer Veggie Pasta to the rescue! All the summer veg thrown into a pot with chunky rigatoni, a tad of half-and-half and oodles of fresh parmesan.
What could be more comforting than that? Plus, we’ve added a secret ingredient that really puts this one over the top in the comfort and happiness category…shaved slices of lemon to brighten things up a bit! You know, when life gives you lemons….make pasta?!
I think food should always be comforting. What’s with those people who don’t really care about what they eat? I’ve never understood that. Food should make us happy, not just sustain us physically. I feel bad for those people who don’t appreciate a piping hot homemade roll, a perfect peach pie, a whole roasted chicken. Maybe it’s because I cook all the time, but when someone hands me even a simple freshly baked chocolate chip cookie, it’s a labor of love that means something big. Love on a plate.
So here’s a little love in a pot. Throw in whatever veg makes you happy and add a little cream or some extra cheese if ya need to. Creamy Summer Veggie Pasta will put a smile on your face AND in your belly.
- 1/2 pound rigatoni or other chunky pasta
- Water or chicken stock
- 1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 cup zucchini and/or yellow squash
- 2 shallots
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes
- 1 cup peas
- 1/2 cup reserved pasta water
- 1/3 lemon, optional (see notes)
- 1 cup half-and-half
- 1 cup pecorino or parmesan cheese, divided
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil plus more for garnish
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Boil pasta until al dente in water or chicken stock. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup liquid.
- In a large skillet, saute zucchini, squash and shallot in olive oil until tender. Salt and pepper to taste.
- Add tomatoes, peas and reserved pasta water.
- If using the lemons, thinly shave lemon slices and cut them into small wedges. Add to pot and simmer 5 minutes.
- Stir in half-and-half and about 3/4 of the cheese and basil. Stir to combine and warm.
- Add salt and pepper and sprinkle with remaining cheese and extra fresh basil.
*Adding fresh lemons brightens this whole dish. You do want to really shave small slices since you are using the whole lemon (rind and all!) in the dish. If you aren't a huge lemon fan, just leave them out entirely.
*Head to the nearest fruit stand (or your own garden) for the freshest squash, tomatoes, peas and basil to really elevate this dish.