We've just joined a CSA group, so we get fresh veggies from local farmers each Thursday. I thought it might be stressful to get the veggies and then have to figure out a dish, but it's actually easier than thinking up what to make and then going to the market! We had tons of fresh basil and zucchini, so I made up this recipe.
Fresh Veggie Pesto Pasta Salad
Basil Pesto (from The New Vegitarian Epicure by Anna Thomas)
5 oz. fresh basil leaves (2 C. leaves, packed)
1/2 C pine nuts (I didn't have these so I used raw sunflower seeds instead)
1/2 C grated Parmesan cheese
2 cloves garlic
5 T. fruity green olive oil
salt and fresh-ground pepper to taste
Wash basil leaves in salad spinner and remove large or thick stems. In food processor or blender, combine first 4 ingredients and process until nuts and garlic are finely chopped. Add the olive oil and process again, scraping down sides of container as necessary until you have a paste of the consistency you like. Add salt and fresh-ground pepper to taste.
Veggie Pesto Pasta
Pasta (any kind you like - I used ziti cut)
2-3 zucchini or yellow squash, chopped
1-2 carrots, diced
1 large fresh tomato, diced (don't saute!)
Basil pesto to taste
Cook the pasta according to package directions. In a little olive oil, saute squash and carrots along with any other vegetables that you're inspired to use. When pasta is cooked, drain and return to pan. Mix in sauteed veggies and diced tomato. Mix in as much pesto as you like. Serve warm or cold, but it is especially good warm! Serves about 4. (I used a yellow tomato cuz that's what I had but it would look pretty with red!)
I LOVE Anna Thomas' book, The New Vegetarian Epicure. Anna lives in Ojai and wrote one of the original vegetarian cookbooks, The Vegetarian Epicure, in the 70s. She told me the other day that she's working on a soup cookbook and I can't wait! The great thing about this cookbook is that the recipes are seasonal, so you can always find something to make with the freshest veggies available. Here's a delicious - and easy! - tomato soup recipe that comes from her book:
Summer Tomato Soup
by Anna Thomas
4 lbs. ripe, red tomatoes
2 T. virgin olive oil
1/2 onion, finely chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 t. salt, more to taste
handful of fresh basil leaves, chopped
2 C vegetable broth
2 C cooked rice (white or brown, but brown is amazing in this!)
fresh-ground pepper to taste
Scald tomatoes in boiling water for 45 seconds. Remove and peel them and trim off their stems ends. Cut in halves or in quarters and process briefly in blender; they should be somewhere between chopped and pureed.
Heat the olive oi in a large, non-stick saute pan and stir the chopped onion in it over a medium flame for about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and saute another 2-3 minutes.
Add the pureed tomatoes, a teaspoon of salt, and the basil. Simmer for about 1/2 hour, until the tomatoes are reduced to a sauce and dark red. Add the vegetable broth and the rice, and bring back to a simmer. Taste, and correct the seasoning if necessary with a touch more salt or a little fresh-ground pepper.
Serves about 5