Perfect Summer Pasta

Summer calls for simple, fresh, and colorful food. The kind that is big on taste, but requires little effort to prepare and enjoy. Truthfully, this is our M.O. when it comes to cooking generally—our busy schedules mean that the hot months aren’t the only time we want to avoid the kitchen. So, we’re always on the lookout for healthy recipes that magically make themselves, allowing us to sit back and relax, perhaps pour a refreshing glass of iced tea or wine, and watch our little ones enjoy their last romp around the yard before the sun sets.

Luckily, Honest Sarah (who claims to be the laziest cook on earth) is here to share her perfect summer pasta recipe that she promises the whole family will love.

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It’s true. I love to eat great food, but I only like to cook (and the latter might still be a bit of an overstatement). Knowing this about myself, I often make meals with ingredients that are easy to find at the grocery store or farmers’ market and that take almost no prep work (20 minutes max). This perfect summer pasta is something my family eats a couple times per month because it is a deceptively easy but elegant spin on the classic spaghetti.

 


Perfect Summer Pasta Ingredients

  • 16 oz. organic cherry or mini heirloom tomatoes, rinsed
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • Olive oil to coat (about four tablespoons)
  • Pasta of choice (organic, wheat, quinoa, rice, and gluten-free all work)
  • Fresh organic arugula
  • Organic buffalo mozzarella cheese, cubed
  •  Serves 3 adults or 2 adults + 2 young children with modest portion sizes.

Heat the oven to 350. Combine minced garlic and mini tomatoes (I prefer the 16 oz. package of organic heirloom or cherry tomatoes from Trader Joe’s…no measuring or cutting required!) in a glass baking dish. Drizzle with enough olive oil to toss and coat tomatoes. Cook for 1 hour on your oven’s middle rack.

 

 

About 25 minutes before your tomatoes finish roasting, boil water for your pasta of choice and cook according to the package’s directions. Mostly, I use organic wheat spaghetti but truly any noodle will do. So, go with what you prefer or have stocked in your pantry whether it’s gluten-free, rice, or penne-shaped pasta.

My Honest Tip: When you add hearty toppings to your pasta, you don’t need as many noodles as you think to create a filling dish. To measure proper portions, I’ve heard one trick is to make a tight circle with your index finger and thumb—the amount of spaghetti that fits within that space is the amount you need.

Next cube a small handful of mozzarella for each dish. Then rinse and dry about two handfuls of organic arugula to be tossed with each pasta serving (if you don’t like a ton of greens in your pasta, adjust to your liking or substitute basil instead…I really like the added crunch and flavor from the arugula so it’s likely I have a tendency to overdo it here).

 

 

I used to serve this as a side dish at barbeques and one day it dawned on me that it would make a delish pasta topping—no sauce needed because the roasted tomatoes’ juice coupled with the olive oil provides the perfect light coating.

 

 

Add the drained pasta to your bowls. Top with your arugula, mozzarella, and roasted tomatoes. Divide the remaining olive oil and garlic in the baking dish among the bowls and drizzle on top. Voila! That’s it. You have a perfect summer pasta. A tasty but not too heavy meal.

 

 

The next time you whip this up, don’t be afraid to improvise and call it your own. You could easily throw in some sauteed shrimp for some added protein, roast zucchini and summer squashes with the tomatoes, or try decadent goat cheese. Now it’s time to dig in, toss, and enjoy al fresco with a glass of wine!