If I could somehow describe our weekend in a few words they would be: fresh food and board games.
One of my absolute favorite parts of the start of “summer” (you know it starts as soon as the kids are out of school) is all of the fresh fruit and vegetables that make it out onto the scene of EVERY SINGLE meal!! I cannot describe how much I love a handful of freshly-picked blueberries, a just-off-the-grill cob of corn, the smell of cutting strawberries, or a slice of a juicy tomato.
At the beginning of the weekend we had the opportunity to visit with friends, have local farm-bred brauts and burgers (and yes, they were absolutely amazing), and play an intense game of Settlers of Catan. We all brought side dishes and not knowing what we were having at the time, I opted for a traditional side dish: pasta salad.
I love this pasta salad because it is so light and refreshing. My biggest failure with this was forgetting that there are usually quite a few people who are not huge tomato fans. Next time I think I might use diced red and yellow bell peppers instead of the tomatoes if preparing for a get-together. But, I love tomatoes, so for me this was perfect!
The rest of our weekend was a blast as we made our way down to Wichita. One of the reasons I love going down there is because my mother-in-law is an amazing cook. I always leave with a new yearning to jump into my own kitchen with a handful of recipes and ideas from all of her amazing meals.
We also were blessed by getting to spend time with Jason’s aunt and uncle who were in town for the weekend. After playing many more rounds of Settlers of Catan with our family, we were taught another game: Farkle (or 10,000 I was told it is also called). Basically, each player rolls 6 dice and by adding certain scores tries to get to the score of 10,000. All I can say, is this game is easily addicting. The best part is you can play it anywhere and goes by quick. I am planning on getting 6 dice so that we can play together in KC.
So, back to this recipe…it is quick and fresh and perfect for a picnic or a quick lunch. The recipe is below is what I used, but I think it would also go well with substituting your favorites. For example: chives – sub parsley or scallions, parmesan – sub feta, pasta – sub-tri-colored spiral or seashell pasta, for tomatoes – sub red and yellow bell peppers. As always, experiment with your favorites to find the right balance for you! Enjoy!
- 12 ounces bow tie pasta
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 whole lemon
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 whole zucchini, washed, cut, and diced
- 10 oz. grape tomatoes, washed and halved
- 1/4 cup minced fresh chives
- 3-4 ounces freshly grated parmesan cheese
- Cook pasta according to package directions until al dente. Drain and run pasta under cool water until pasta is cold. Transfer pasta to large bowl and add olive oil, freshly squeezed lemon juice and salt and pepper. Toss pasta until evenly coated. Taste, the lemon should be mild with a good balance of salt and pepper (should not be too sweet).
- After a thorough wash, slice up zucchini and tomatoes, lightly salt and toss in with the pasta until evenly distributed.
- Sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan cheese, toss lightly then cover and refrigerate for 2+ hours.
Source: modified from The Pioneer Woman’s recipe for Pasta Salad with Tomatoes, Zucchini, and Feta.