Doeden: Dress up any occasion with Summer-Fresh Bowtie PastaHot summer weekend afternoons are meant for lounging with friends on a pontoon boat floating down the Mississippi River. Preferably with a cooler full of ice and beverages. It’s best followed with a dinner made by friends.
Hot summer weekend afternoons are meant for lounging with friends on a pontoon boat floating down the Mississippi River. Preferably with a cooler full of ice and beverages. It’s best followed with a dinner made by friends.
Our last lazy cruise was followed by a bowtie pasta dish at a table for four in a cozy screened porch. My boating friend pulled the dinner together in no time. While the pasta pot was bubbling, she mixed a zesty vinaigrette, chopped cherry tomatoes, minced red onion and sliced fresh basil, then tossed everything together in a big pasta bowl. Done. In minutes. No sweat. She made it look so easy.
This time of year, home gardens are ripe with rosy red tomatoes and fragrant basil. Add some minced garlic to those showstoppers of summer and the results are nothing short of miraculous. With these ingredients at hand, even the least experienced cook can make something delicious on a hot summer’s day. Every cook will appreciate the no-fuss ease of preparing Summer-Fresh Bowtie Pasta.
Basil, a nutritious leafy green, woos us with its beauty and flavor and is probably the most likeable of all herbs. In the past, I’ve never had much luck trying to grow basil. This year I planted Greek Columnar basil in a 12-inch pot and set it in the flower garden. It’s growing like crazy and keeping me supplied with its complex flavor, blending traditional basil taste with spicy overtones of cinnamon, allspice and cloves.
Tomato’s sweet and sour flesh loves the spicy flavor of fresh basil. Use cherry or grape tomatoes or chop up a couple of large ones to add to the pasta bowl. Their leafy, fruity and floral flavor that seems sweet, salty and sour at the same time, is enhanced with garlic and red onion in Summer-Fresh Bowtie Pasta.
I made a few slight changes to the recipe my friend sent to me for the after-boating pasta meal. It takes just one hot burner to cook the pasta for this dish and one big bowl to mix a few fresh ingredients together with the hot pasta. Serve it with some good chewy bread and olive oil for dipping. If you need more to round out the meal, add grilled shrimp or chicken. Leftover Summer-Fresh Bowtie Pasta can become a chilled salad for lunch the next day.
Summer-Fresh Bowtie Pasta is a natural choice for a light and fresh meal during the hot days of summer. I won’t be waiting for my next cruise down the river to make this dish. Fresh tomato and basil season is way too short. Eat it while you can.
Sue Doeden is a food writer and photographer from Bemidji, Minn., and a former Fargo resident. Her columns are published in 10 Forum Communications newspapers.