Cool Summer Meals With Pasta

Published 11:47 am Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Now that summer is heating up, keeping cool is the name of the game. Keeping cool in the kitchen is also a priority for the family cook. Pasta dinners that combine a variety of quick-to-prepare pastas with farm-fresh summer produce are sure to be a hit.

Cooking pasta is simple, but there are a few secrets to making pasta perfect:

Make the right amount — a pound of dry pasta will serve four;

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Use enough water — fill a large pot (6 to 8 qt.) with 4 to 6 quarts of cold water for each pound of pasta;

Wait for the boiling point — don’t add pasta until you see rolling bubbles;

Salt in the water — adding salt does not improve pasta flavor although most of the sodium is not absorbed;

Add and stir — stir pasta into boiling water to prevent sticking; keep it rolling and adjust heat so water boils without boiling over.

Don’t over or under cook — test a single piece of pasta; it should be cooked through but not soft;

Save some water — reserve ½ to 1 cup cooking water to thin sauce if needed;

Drain quickly — pasta continues to cook in hot water;

Don’t rinse — surface starch helps sauces adhere; toss and serve — add sauce or other ingredients and serve immediately.

Today’s recipes are guaranteed to keep both the family and the cook cool: Pasta with Farm Stand Vegetables, Fettuccine with Fresh Herbs & Tomatoes, Pasta Nicoise, Greek Pasta Bowl with Shrimp.


16 oz. corkscrews pasta, 2 garlic cloves, crushed

2 T. olive oil, 3 c. fresh corn kernels

2 sm. zucchinni, cut lengthwise, quartered, then sliced

½ tsp. pepper, 1 pt. cherry tomatoes, sliced

pinch of cinnamon

Heat large saucepot of salted water to boiling. Add pasta and cook as label directs. In nonstick 12-inch skillet, heat oil. Add garlic, cumin, and cinnamon and cook 30 seconds or until fragrant, stirring. Add corn and cook 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add zucchini, pepper, and 1-1/2 tsp. salt and cook 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add tomatoes and cook about 2 minutes longer or until tomatoes are heated through and zucchini is tender. When pasta has cooked to desired doneness, remove ¼ c. pasta cooking water and reserve. Drain pasta. In large serving bowl, toss pasta, corn mixture, and reserved cooking water until combined. Serves 4.



16 oz. fettuccine, ½ c. fresh mint, chopped

2 T. rosemary, chopped, 1 T. fresh sage, chopped

2 lg. tomatoes, chopped, ¼ c. Parmesan, grated

2 T. extra virgin olive oil, ¼ tsp. black pepper

Heat large saucepot of salted water to boiling. Add fettuccine and cook as label directs. In large serving bowl, toss herbs with tomatoes, Oil, pepper, and ¾ tsp. salt; set aside. When fettuccine has cooked to desired doneness, remove ½ c. pasta cooking water and reserve. Drain fettuccine; add with reserved cooking water to herb mixture in bowl and toss well. Sprinkle with cheese to serve. Serves 4.


16 oz. corkscrew pasta, 1 lb. green beans, halved

2 lemons, ¾ c. chicken broth

¼ c. olive oil, 2 tsp. Dijon mustard

½ tsp. black pepper, 2 anchovies, minced

1 garlic clove, crushed, 12 oz. tuna in water, drained

1 c. fresh parsley, chopped, 2/3 c. Parmesan, grated

Heat large saucepot of salted water to boiling. Cook 2 minutes; add green beans and cook 6 minutes longer or until pasta and vegetables are tender. Drain well. From lemons, grate 1 tsp. peel and squeeze 3 T. juice. In small bowl with wire whisk or fork, mix lemon peel, lemon juice, broth, oil, mustard, pepper, anchovies and garlic. Arrange pasta, potatoes, beans, and tuna on platter; drizzle with lemon dressing and sprinkle with parsley and Parmesan. Serves 6.


16 oz. fusilli pasta, 2 T. olive oil

1 lb. med. shrimp, shelled, 2 garlic cloves, crushed

and deveined, 1 T. fresh oregano, chopped

¼ tsp. black pepper, 2 bunches green onion, sliced

3 med. tomatoes, chopped, 8 oz. pkg. crumbled feta

Heat large saucepot of salted water to boiling. Add pasta and cook as label directs. In nonstick 12-inch skillet, heat oil until hot. Add shrimp, garlic, oregano, pepper and ½ tsp. salt and cook 1 minute, stirring. Add green onions and cook 2 minutes or just until shrimp turns opaque throughout. Stir in tomatoes. Drain pasta; return to saucepot. Add shrimp mixture and feta; toss well to combine. Garnish each serving with oregano sprigs. Serves 6.