I'm not gonna lie. Along with so many other bloggers I've been following, I'm also jumping on the "Fall" train. I know we haven't exactly gotten our fair share of Summer here on the island but I'm really kind of over it. There hasn't been any camping at all thus far (the reason for Summer, in my opinion), the sun just keeps playing hide and seek, and while I love my flip flops, they're actually hurting my feet this year. And, a new development: I don't enjoy being overly warm. For anyone who knows me, I've loved the sun forever. Lately though, I just seem to over heat and then I get all uncomfortable and grumpy. Weird. So yeah, Summer, make way for Fall.
I just want to throw on a hoodie, crunch up some crunchy leaves in my sneakers, and chill indoors with the aromas of fresh baked bread and pumpkin pie wafting through the house. I wanna start wearing tights under my skirts, over sized old man sweaters, and rain boots. I wanna do school work. I wanna start planning for Christmas - heck, I wanna decorate for Christmas! I wanna eat risotto and chicken pot pie. I wanna start drinking more red wine and less white.
I. Want. Fall.
But it's not Fall. It's coming! But it's not here yet. So, while we still have a semi-Summer (or, a Summer semi, if you will), I suppose we should make the most of it. Besides, 3 months into Fall/Winter, I'm sure I'll be complaining it's not Summer anymore.
So, to help you reach your Summer summit, I've thrown together a very Summer pasta salad using all the freshest and most local veggies I found at the market this weekend. Substitute whatever you have and chow down - it's healthy (more or less), super simple (I kept thinking I was forgetting something in the preparation because it was so easy), and super fresh tasting! It's Summer in a bowl, really.
Pesto Pasta Salad
250 g Large Shell Pasta (aka Conchiglioni rigati).
1 Batch Spinach Almond Pesto.
2 Medium Yellow Summer Zucchini, halved.
1 Fire Roasted Yellow, Red or Orange Bell Pepper (see here or purchase jar @ the grocer in the condiment section).
2 C Fresh Shelled Peas (frozen can be used if you don't have fresh but not nearly as good).
1/2 Large Sweet Onion, sliced.
1/2 C Grana Padano or Parmesan, finely grated.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
Kosher Salt & Fresh Cracked Black Pepper.
What to Do:
Pre-heat your grill to medium-high. While it heats up, toss the halved zucchini and the bell pepper (if using fresh) in some olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Place these veggies on the grill and lightly char the outside. The zucchini should be moderately fork tender in about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from the heat and chop into 1 to 2" pieces.
While these cool, bring both a large and small pot of salted water to the boil. Once boiling, add the pasta to the larger one and the shelled peas to the smaller.
Cook peas only about 30 to 45 seconds and drain, set aside. Using the same pot, heat a Tbsp of oil over medium heat. Once hot, add the onions. Sautee until tender - about 4 to 5 minutes - and then remove from the heat. Set aside.
Boil pasta until el dente - about 9 - 11 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.
In a large bowl, toss the pasta, pesto, zucchini, pepper, peas, onion, cheese, and a good pinch of salt and pepper with a splash of olive oil. I found my fingers definitely useful for helping to massage the pesto apart and spread it evenly over the shells. Messy messy!