While pulling a few weeds in my garden on this first day of summer, my thoughts were about what wonderful things I’ll be able to make once the bounty starts flowing.
Actually, it was yesterday, on the last day of spring, when I first started thinking about future meals with fresh produce. I was in the midst of making a tomato-based sauce that featured some dehydrated green pepper and store-bought onions, along with the usual tomato sauce and paste, a little white wine, a couple of garlic cloves and some dried spices.
But in just a month or so, I’ll be making one of my favorite sauces, with fresh peppers, onions, eggplant, zucchini and fresh herbs from my garden. And I can’t forget about the fresh tomatoes.
Yes, it’s a wonderful time for cooks, with all the fresh produce that will start showing up in our gardens and farmers markets. For those of you who like to cook these sorts of things like I do, here’s a recipe for one of my favorite sauces, which is great over pasta.
Summer Harvest Linguine
2 tablespoons each: olive oil, butter
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 medium onion, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1 bay leaf
1 medium eggplant, cut into ½-inch cubes
1 pound mushrooms, chopped
4 medium tomatoes chopped
1 large red or yellow bell pepper, seeded, chopped
½ cup fresh basil, chopped
¼ cup tomato paste
4 black oil-cured olives, pitted, finely chopped
1 large zucchini, grated
1 cup red wine
½ cup finely chopped parsley
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 1-pound box linguine, cooked to package directions
Heat the olive oil and butter in a large, heavy skillet over medium high heat. Add garlic, onion, ½ teaspoon of the salt and bay leaf; cook, stirring, until onions become translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in eggplant and remaining ½ teaspoon of the salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until eggplant begins to soften, about 10 minutes. Stir in mushrooms; cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms soften, about 10 minutes.
2. Stir in tomatoes, bell pepper, basil and tomato paste, mixing well. Lower heat to a simmer; cover. Cook 10 minutes. Stir in olives, zucchini, wine, parsley and pepper; cover. Cook until flavors come together, about 15 minutes. Stir in the Parmesan cheese. Serve with linguine.
Yield: Serves 6.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 474 calories, 27 percent of calories from fat, 14 grams fat (6 grams saturated fat) 22 milligrams cholesterol, 69 grams carbohydrates, 19 grams protein, 746 milligrams sodium, 13 grams fiber.