In the Kitchen: True Summer Pasta

A "true" summer pasta because the only ingredient you cook is the pasta. Use whatever vegetable/ingredients you want. I used what's listed below because it's what I had on hand. Caveats:

Re. the olives: I don't use "California" or "Spanish" olives. They're awful. If you can find them, use real olives. It's worth it. In this dish, green (unripe) olives work best. I've tried this using just a bit of black olive and those are simply too strong. Since the ingredients aren't "cooked," you're aiming for subtlety.

Professional Institute of Agriculture and Envi...

Re. the garlic: I'm not kidding about a "teensy" bit. Raw garlic can easily take over the world, let alone this dish. DO. NOT. GET. CARRIED. AWAY. If you lack restraint, do this: when the pasta water boils, and before you add the pasta, toss a clove or two of garlic in the water and cook it for seven or eight minutes. It won't be quite as raw.

Re. the pasta: Use good pasta, okay? I'm not a foodie or a food snob. But I'm here to tell you that spending money on GOOD pasta is money well invested. Bad pasta ain't worth eating. (My preference is for Rustichella. In this recipe, as in many, I used Rustichella Fusille Col Buco. Great texture.


For two people:

  • a quarter pound of pasta (4 oz.)
  • a bunch of basil, chopped fairly fine
  • a few green olives
  • a zucchini
  • cherry or grape tomatoes
  • a tiny piece of garlic (emphasis on tiny)
  • parmesan cheese
  • olive oil

Boil a pot of water and add the pasta. While the pasta is cooking, do the following:

Use a vegetable peeler to dismantle the zuke. Grating it will make it too mushy. You want thinnish strips, so simply use the peeler to transform the zuke into a collection of thin strips. Cut the tomatoes in half. Using a sharp knife, cut the olives away from their pits. (If you have a pitter, pit them and then quarter the olives.) Mince a teensy bit of garlic. Don’t get carried away. You’re not cooking the garlic, and unless you restrain yourself, it’ll take over.

Put all this in a large bowl (big enough to hold the pasta once it’s cooked), sprinkle a bit of good salt on it, and toss gently. Drizzle (and the operative word here is drizzle) a bit of olive oil and toss again.

When the pasta is cooked, tong it into the bowl. Drizzle a bit more olive oil over the mix, and then grate some parmesan over, and toss again, gently. Don’t get too carried away with the cheese; it can take over. Eat! Enjoy......