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Garden Pasta

This is the first year I’ve tried my hands at gardening. I’ve always considered myself a plant murderer. House plants always die under my supervision, so starting a garden felt WAY out of reach.

Well, I do believe I was wrong; I have two green thumbs after all. Obviously, the reason I was killing my plants is because I didn’t treat them right. I didn’t give them the love they need. If you provide your garden with the right mixture of soil, lots of sun, and the water it needs, it will grow like crazy.

Our garden is full of: tomatoes (all sorts), zucchini, pepperoncinis, jalapeños, bell peppers, cucumbers, kale, collards, broccoli, cauliflower, leeks, onions, tomatillos, horseradish, and lots of different herbs. This isn’t everything, but here are a few pictures to give you an idea:

Watching my garden grow, picking my own veggies and fruit, and cooking with them, is the most gratifying feeling I’ve experienced. The flavor is far superior over what I buy in the grocery store, and man, it’s so much fun. If you’ve never tried growing a garden, give it a shot. Start small, do your research, and go for it.

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As you can see, I have an abundance of tomatoes. I pressed (using my Weston Tomato Press) the Heirlooms, Beef Steaks, and San Marzanos, and then froze the purée. I don’t want to press the grape tomatoes, so I put them in a lot of salads, or eat them as a snack throughout the day. However, last night, they went into my garden pasta, which included my pepperoncinis, kale, and basil. I also added onion, garlic, and sun-dried tomatoes. Some people may wonder why I add garden tomatoes and sun-dried tomatoes together. It’s just a personal preference. I love them both, so I add both. If you don’t like them together, that’s cool. Add whichever you like.

A pasta dish is a great way to use up veggies. Throw whatever you want into a sauté pan, toss in cooked pasta, olive oil, and seasonings. It so easy and super tasty!

Here’s how I did mine:

Slice grape tomatoes in half and chop onions, garlic, and pepperoncinis. I used fresh pepperoncinis from the garden, but if you don’t have those, use pickled pepperoncinis.

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Take out the main stem of the kale and then stack the leaves on top of each other and chiffonade them by rolling the leaves and cutting them into long strips. Do the same with the basil. Like this:

Now, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

While the water is coming to a boil, heat olive oil in a large sauté pan on medium high heat.  Add the onions and let them cook for three minutes. Toss in the pepperoncinis and kale. Let them sauté for five minutes.

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Then, add garlic, grape tomatoes, and sun-dried tomatoes (with some of the oil from the jar). Add salt and pepper. I also like red pepper flakes. If you don’t want it spicy, leave it out. Cook for another five minutes.

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While the veggies are cooking on medium heat, put the pasta in the boiling water, and cook until it’s al dente, and then drain.

Stir the veggies. They should look like this:

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Toss the pasta into the veggies. If you feel it needs it, add a little more olive oil or oil from the sun-dried tomatoes.

Taste it. Is the pasta cooked to your liking? How’s the seasoning? Let it cook a little more if you think it needs it and add extra seasoning to your taste.

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Put in a bowl and top with the fresh basil. I also like grated Romano cheese.

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Enjoy!!

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What you’ll need:

1 box of pasta (whatever kind you want)

1 package of grape tomatoes (or from your garden), slice in half

6-8 pepperoncinis (from the garden or pickled), chopped

10 kale leaves– main stem removed and then chiffonade

4 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 medium onion, chopped

1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes (and a tablespoon of oil from the jar)

10 basil leaves, chiffonade

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

Red pepper flakes to taste (optional)

Grated Parmesan or Romano cheese (optional)

Directions:

Slice grape tomatoes in half and chop onions, garlic, and pepperoncinis. I used fresh pepperoncinis from the garden, but if you don’t have those, use pickled pepperoncinis.

Take out the main stem of the kale and then stack the leaves on top of each other and chiffonade them by rolling the leaves and cutting them into long strips. Do the same with the basil.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. While the water is coming to a boil, heat olive oil in a large sauté pan on medium high heat. Add the onions and let them cook for three minutes. Toss in the pepperoncinis and kale. Let them sauté for five minutes. Then, add garlic, grape tomatoes, and sun-dried tomatoes (with some of the oil from the jar). Add salt and pepper. I also like red pepper flakes. If you don’t want it spicy, leave it out. Cook for another five minutes.

While the veggies are cooking on medium heat, put the pasta in the boiling water, and cook until it’s al dente, and then drain.

Toss the pasta into the veggies. If you feel it needs it, add a little more olive oil or oil from the sun-dried tomatoes.

Taste and add extra seasoning, if needed.

Put in a bowl and top with the fresh basil. I also like grated Romano cheese.

Alternatives:

If you want to add protein, go for it! This dish would work great with shrimp, bay scallops, clams, mussels, or chicken.

Any combination of veggies will work, too.

If you don’t like kale, try spinach.

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