CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Pasta Primavera

Fall is in the air, with the possibility of Jack Frost making his first appearance any day. And that means some gardeners are scurrying about, deciding which plants to cover and which vegetables to pick —  tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, cucumbers, squash. The list can go on and on and on.

A proliferation of fresh veggies means only one thing to me: pasta primavera!

Pasta primavera is a easy and tasty dish that’s made with pasta and fresh vegetables. Despite what its name may infer, pasta primavera is an American dish, not an Italian one. It had it’s beginnings in New York City in the 1970s.

One of the nice things about pasta primavera is that you can use any number of vegetables. So, the end-of-the-summer bounty is perfect fare, even hard-to-giveaway and much-maligned zucchini.

Pasta Primavera
1 small eggplant, diced
3 Roma tomatoes, chopped
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
1 carrot, chopped
6 okra pods, sliced
2 small zucchini, sliced
1 medium onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 green or red bell pepper, chopped
1 clove garlic, diced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup red cooking wine
1 cup fresh basil, chopped
8 ounces spaghetti
Heat olive oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic, celery and mushrooms and saute for about 5 minutes. Add carrot, zucchini, bell pepper and eggplant. Cook for another 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, okra, basil and wine. Bring to a boil then simmer for 20 to 30 minutes. While vegetables are cooking, prepare the pasta per package directions. Serve vegetables over spaghetti and top with Parmesan cheese.
Yield: Serves 4.

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