Ludlow How I love Seattle summers! From the 4th of July through the end of August it seems like I’m able to forget the gray and wet of the previous six months. An added bonus is that Seattle seems to be one of the few places in the United States that isn’t blistering hot at the moment. The main reason I adore this time of year is the produce. Stone fruit (peaches, cherries, etc.) and berries hit the farmers markets, and tomatoes and corn make their appearance during this time… My creative cooking juices just begin to run rampant!
We are lucky in Seattle to have a number of extraordinary farmers markets where this summertime produce can be found. When they were young, my three children spent a half day each week at Seattle’s most famous market – Pike Place Market. This iconic locale is where they learned the names and characteristics of endless fruits and vegetables and got to know a number of local vendors. I was in my early thirties at the time and this was MY favorite activity so I enjoyed spending a few hours a week perusing the stalls as much as they did. Believe it or not, some of the vendors from thirty plus years ago remember my children’s’ names — probably because they were asked a weird question or had their hair pulled from the baby in my carrier.
As I gazed at the farmers market produce in my refrigerator recently, I reflected on my cooking school experience in Italy. I had made 360 (yes, that number is correct: Three hundred and sixty) ravioli the day before with my friend and had noodle “scraps” that reminded me of pappardelle, broad flat pasta ribbons named after the Italian word “pappare” – meaning “to gobble up.” Appropriately enough, I was thinking that I needed to somehow use or freeze these scraps for later. And then I recalled an excellent Italian pasta -centric meal we had near the Ponte Vecchio in Florence, Italy. Soon a recipe developed in my mind – pappardelle with fresh corn, spring onions, zucchini, and grape tomatoes. Molto bene! My Italian “Mama Mima” instructor from Tutti a Tavola would have been proud that I used tips she gave us in class: namely to heat olive oil and add garlic to brown and season the oil, removing it then so the flavor is very, very subtle. I also remembered to leave the pot completely uncovered so the vegetables would maintain their bright colors.
As is my tendency, I created the following recipe as I proceeded to cook and it came together rather quickly. I began with basic ingredients and devised my own thick sauce using lots of vegetables and less pasta than most would want, and olive oil with a dab of butter just for taste. My final product was really, really flavorful – so much so that I plan to make a similar type of risotto with the same veggies before our summer comes to an end!
MyGlobalKitchens Pappardelle with Summer Vegetables and Herbs
Serves dinner for 6, side dish for 8+
- ¼ cup good olive oil
- 2 whole cloves garlic
- 3 cups small (grape) tomatoes, each pierced with a knife blade
- 1 tsp. sea salt
- 1 large carrot or 4 tiny organic carrots, diced ⅓ inch
- ¾ cup green zucchini, diced ½ inch
- ⅓ cup onion, peeled and diced (I always buy these organic)
- ½ red or orange pepper, diced ½ inch
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1 Tbsp butter
- ¾ cup dry vermouth (always in my refrigerator for cooking)
- ¾ cup chicken broth or stock (I had homemade in the freezer)
- 2 ears corn (reserve shucked cobs)
- 1 pound pappardelle pasta – cook in boiling water with the corn cobs that have been shucked
- ½ cup basil and parsley combination, shredded
- 1 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
Remove kernels from the corn and set aside. Reserve the corn cobs!
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the corn cobs and cook for 10 minutes. Remove the corn cobs with a tongs and leave water in pot (you’ll use this to boil the pasta so keep it simmering).
Meanwhile, on medium heat, heat olive oil in a 4-quart stock pot over medium heat. Briefly add the whole garlic cloves until they are a bit brown and the oil is fragrant. Remove the garlic with a tongs.
Add the tomatoes, carrots, onions, carrots and zucchini, (4 cups of vegetables in all) with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and cook without the lid on until the tomatoes soften, about 5-6 minutes. Push on the tomatoes with fork tines so they flatten and release their juice and are no longer whole. Add the vermouth and continue to simmer for about 5 minutes. Add chicken stock and cook another 5 minutes at a brisk simmer.
Meanwhile, cook the pappardelle in the corn-infused water (bring it back to a boil before cooking). The fresh noodles only need to boil for about 3-4 minutes until al dente. While this is happening, add the corn kernels (about 1 ⅓ cups) to the vegetable sauce and continue to heat.
With a tongs, remove the pasta to the pot of sauce (Don’t worry if a little moisture remains on the noodles) and coat it well. Taste and add more salt if needed.
Serve with shredded basil and parsley and parmesan cheese (I like to place herbs and cheese in individual small bowls so my guests can use whatever amount they like).
- If you prefer less chunky sauce, you could use an immersion blender to emulsify this sauce before adding the corn.
- Most purists would not like this tip, but I enjoy this pasta dish briefly reheated the following day. If I am short on time I use the microwave or stir it around in a small fry pan. What a great breakfast this provided for me!
- I live in Seattle and can buy fresh sheets of homemade pasta from DeLaurenti market, which is what I used for both the ravioli I made (post coming soon) and for the pappardelle. Some markets will carry fresh pappardelle, particularly Italian markets so call around to see if you can find them – SO much better than the dry variety. I know my Ballard Farmers Market always has pappardelle.
- Again, this is a template and you could add fresh shelled peas, mushrooms or anything that isn’t too overpowering. (For example, I would not put broccoli with this mix.)