Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Summer Vegetable Pasta

For those of us still struggling through grad programs, summer is rarely the exciting, relaxing break that most other students look forward to. My crazy schedule leads to long pauses in posting, while all the medical students I know are pulling out their hair and having coniptions over their impending boards exam. To be fair, it is a pretty big test, and I'm sure I will be the same way when I get ready to take them in August. With that in mind, I decided to make dinner for my friends Lara and Chris the week of their boards exam to try and help them out a bit - it's crazy how even the basics of feeding yourself seem like a time-sucking requirement rather than a welcome break when you're ear deep in textbooks

I had big plans for lots of Farmer's Market veggies in this, however my clinicals schedule has made it impossible for me to attend all by 2 of the markets so far this summer. So I instead settled for what looked good at the grocery store, and even though it wasn't Market-based, it was still pretty darn delicious- both for study food and general dinner.
Part of the fun of summer cooking is the availability of fresh, in-season veggies in a rainbow of colors - which means plenty of choices for tastes, textures and vitamins! This was mostly thrown together as I want, so feel free to substitute other veggies in, depending on your tastes and what's available. I added the pine nuts and Gorgonzola cheese to create a little crunch and slight salty-bitterness to it, but feel free to leave either out or try some feta if you looking for something less intense. 

And if you haven't, go check out your local Farmer's Market!! Get to know the vendors, take some samples and enjoy it -- not only is local food a better option for many reasons, but it's a really great way to be a part of a community. I found this to be especially important when I was a college student in a different city. It's easy to feel disconnected and like you're a visitor, but going to events like these gives you a sense of belonging.

Summer Vegetable Pasta
Serves 6-8

1 box of wheat pasta, choose your favorite shape!
1 red pepper & 1 yellow pepper, sliced into ~1" squares
1 bunch of green onions, diced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
4 cups arugula
1/4 cup pine nuts
Olive oil
Salt, pepper, paprika, oregano, to taste
Gorgonzola cheese, to taste

1. Bring water to a boil and boil the pasta until desired texture. Drain, rinse with cold water and set aside.
2. While pasta is boiling, rinse and cut up the peppers, onions and mince the garlic. 
3. Slice the green onions and soak them in a bowl of water - this helps get the dirt out of the middle grooves. Drain before using.
4.  In a pan, start to brown the garlic in olive oil over medium heat. Add the peppers and pine nuts. 
5. When the peppers become slightly softened, add the green onions.
6. Cook over medium heat for ~5 minutes, seasoning to taste.
7. In a large bowl, combine the pasta and veggie mix. Add the arugula. 
8. Top each serving with the desired amount of Gorgonzola and enjoy!

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