No-Cook Pasta Primavera

Or, “How we ate our CSA this week when it was far too hot to make a galette!”

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We’ve been enjoying the fruits (or shall I say veggies) of our CSA this summer. Each Friday we get a box full of reasons not to go anywhere beyond our kitchen or do anything beyond craft new ways to nourish ourselves. I hesitate to use the word “recipes” because we pretty much make it all up as we go along based on what’s in the box. I figure Mother Earth wants us to eat these particular items this week, so we should listen. As part of our general inclination toward living more simply, it works pretty well.

My grandma sent me a recipe in the mail a few weeks ago for a no-cook tomato sauce. I “tucked it away,” as she’s fond of saying, and kept it in mind for when the CSA box was full of Jersey tomatoes. The time came last week, and just in time. There was a major heat wave along the East Coast. I know, I know…it’s summer, it’s hot. This is true. But having lived both in Maine, where we never needed AC, and Georgia, where even my tiny 1940s-era bungalow had central air, I can tell you this heat wave was unusual for this area of the Northeast. One of our favorite dishes lately has been to slice veggies, toss them with some spices, and roast them until tender. Not last week. There would not be any preheating of our oven to 450*.

On the way home from the farm stand we stopped at Trader Joe’s to pick up things we can’t get in the box – like bananas and hemp seeds. I also stumbled across Black Bean Rotini. The color is what stood out to me first – pasta that’s black, just like my rock and roll soul? Yes, please. The nutrition facts sold me – 15 grams of protein per serving, and they were made of one ingredient only: black bean flour. Nothing weird, nothing added. And although it was pricier than regular plain white pasta, I feel it was well worth paying slightly more for better nutrition. Into the basket it went.

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At home we moved slowly for the afternoon. We made cabbage roll ups for lunch (I’ll post that recip-easy soon – it’s becoming a go-to for our household) and before we put away the cutting board, I pulled out my grandma’s recipe. While hers called simply for tomatoes, basil, oil, and spices, we took it a step further for more veggie punch, and we omitted the oil. There was no need to add any to the recipe, thanks to the juicy tomatoes. Everything sat in a huge glass bowl on the countertop until we were hungry enough for dinner. I remarked it looked like a giant bruschetta. The only thing we had to do was boil water for a mere 8 minutes for the pasta – and even that was probably too long. The black bean pasta cooks really fast and thus gets mushy really fast too, so be aware of that if you decide to try it! It was scrumptious and made plenty for leftovers. We added no additional protein to the dish when we served it, although we topped with freshly-grated cheddar. By the following day our avocados had ripened so we topped with those instead. Enjoy!!

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No-Cook Pasta Primavera

Ingredients

  • About 4 large tomatoes
  • 1 yellow squash
  • 1 zucchini
  • 2 small red onions
  • 2 green bell peppers
  • Handful of fresh basil, torn or sliced into small pieces
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Minced garlic
  • Herbs de Provence, optional
  • Freshly-grated cheddar, optional for topping
  • Black bean rotini

Instructions

  1. Working carefully, slice the tomatoes into 1-2" chunks over a bowl to capture the juices. Toss the chunks in.
  2. Add basil, garlic, salt, and pepper to the tomatoes.
  3. Dice onions and add to tomatoes.
  4. Slice zucchinis and bell peppers and add to tomato mixture.
  5. Add any additional spices and stir well to combine.
  6. Cover and let sit on countertop for at least an hour. We found the sauce got "saucier" and more flavorful the second day, although we put it in the fridge after about 4 hours of marinating at room temperature.
  7. Boil and drain pasta.
  8. Spoon pasta into bowls, top with copious amounts of sauce, and grate some cheese on top.

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