Farmer’s Market Pasta

So, not only do I have a problem with using the oven, I avoid it. I mean, really. What is the point of baking a pasta dish that is perfectly good without the extra step. Case in point, Penne with Corn, Zucchini and Basil. Sounds delicious. It does not, however, sound like I need to wait an additional 45 minutes to eat it, or dirty more dishes for that matter, by baking it. Plus, eliminating some of that cooking keeps the veggies perfectly cooked, and the sauce fresh. This is my stove top only adaptation of Penne with Corn, Zucchini and Basil; I call it Farmer’s Market Pasta. You can easily pick up the majority of the ingredients at your local farmer’s market – if you’re in Madison, stop by Creekside Farm, and say hello to Mark and Chris, my honorary Uncle and Aunt!

Farmer’s Market Pasta
Kosher salt, to taste
1 lb. penne
6 Tbs. olive oil, plus more as needed
Kernels cut from 3 ears of corn
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
8 zucchini, about 2 lb. total, cut into half-moons
1 small yellow onion, diced
8 tomatoes, cored, seeded and cut into 1-inch chunks
2 Tbs. chopped garlic
2 tsp. chopped fresh oregano
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 Tbs. tomato paste
1/3 cup white wine
1/2 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
6 oz. mozzarella cheese, grated
2 oz. Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated

In a 12-inch nonstick fry pan over medium-high heat, warm 3 Tbs. of the olive oil. Add the corn, season with salt and black pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the corn is lightly golden, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl. Set aside.

Return the pan to medium-high heat and warm the remaining 3 Tbs. olive oil. Working in batches, add the zucchini, season with salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the zucchini is tender and golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Add to the bowl with the corn. Repeat with the remaining zucchini, adding more oil to the pan as needed.

Start boiling the water for the pasta.
Set the pan over medium-low heat. Add the onion, 1 tsp. salt and black pepper, to taste. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, garlic, oregano and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes soften and begin to form a sauce, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute. Add the wine and cook until the wine has reduced and the sauce is fairly thick, about 3 minutes more. Next add the tomato sauce, basil, mozzarella and Parmigiano-Reggiano to the bowl with the vegetables and toss to combine.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Generously salt the water, add the pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain the pasta, add to the sauce, toss – enjoy!

Adapted on August 5, 2009 from Williams-Sonoma Kitchen.

NOTE: I also think this would be a great make ahead dish: sauté the corn, then the zucchini, and set aside. Prepare the sauce, put a lid on it, and move it to the back of the stove. When you’re ready to eat, cook the pasta, and turn the heat on under the sauce. I don’t think you need to reheat the veggies; I didn’t last night and there was probably an hour break. Toss it all together and enjoy. Oooo, I bet this would be great if you grilled the corn on the cob, then cut it off to add.

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