Foodie Friday: Summer Veggie Pasta with Lemon Sauce

So as a new addition for Fall I’m going to share some really yummy and simple meals you can make for your family with very little time and money.  A few things you should know – we are not vegetarians but we try to eat at least one or two veggie-only meals a week.  So while this particular recipe was veggie we could have added any grilled or rotisserie chicken we had in the fridge but it is just as yummy without the chicken.  Second, I started a fresh herb garden on my back porch this spring, so all our fresh herbs are free (saving a HUGE amount at the grocery store).  Finally, I believe that specific measurements are great for baking but kind of time consuming when cooking dinner.  I’ll try to get better at giving you all exact quantities where needed.

Hope you enjoy, and if you’d like to see any particular ingredient or category let me know, I’m totally open to suggestions…

Zest and juice of one Lemon
2 Cloves of garlic (smashed or minced)
1 Red Pepper
1 Zucchini
1 Summer Squash
1/2 package of your favorite pasta (we used Barilla Plus Penne)
1/3 package of Feta cheese (buy the whole thing and crumble it yourself, it’s cheaper)
1 Tbsp Butter
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper (to taste)
Red Pepper Flakes (to taste)
Mint, Oregano or Basil (a handful or so of fresh or 1 Tbsp or so dry)
Makes about 4 generous servings

1.  Gather your ingredients.  Rachael Ray has it right with this time saving tip.  If you have everything right in front of you and ready to go you will be able to cook a hell of a lot faster.

2.  Bring a large pot of water to boil and toss in your half box of pasta.  While the water and then pasta is coming to a boil cut up your veggies.  Cut your pepper into skinny strips and your zucchini and squash into thin circles (I use the slicer on the side of my grater to speed things up).  Smash or mince your garlic.  
3.  Now zest your lemon, which means to take off the yellow part of the skin.  I use a microplane, which is essentially a tiny sharp grater.  A regular grater works fine too, it’s just a bit harder to get only the yellow part (if you get any white bits fish them out cause they are super bitter and will ruin the flavor).  Once you’ve taken the zest off, cut open the lemon and juice the whole thing.  
4.  Once your pasta is ready, drain and set aside.  In the pasta pot add the butter and oil.  Then add the garlic and lemon zest.  

5.  Once the garlic and lemon is smelling yummy (but before the garlic browns) toss in your veggies.  Stir them all around so that the buttery oily garlicky lemony goodness gets onto all the veg.
6.  After three or four minutes (when the veggies are super tender) add the pasta, lemon juice, salt, pepper and pepper flakes into the pot (if using dry herbs add them now).  Gently stir everything all together to combine.  Scoop some into a bowl, top with some crumbled feta cheese and chopped fresh herbs and Voila!  Dinner is done.  
P.S. This was made with the veggies we had on hand but again…anything could be used here.  Snap peas, mushrooms, green beans, asparagus, carrots, broccoli…the possibilities are endless.  And any bit of meat would be great as well.  Grilled or rotisserie chicken or some kind of sausage would be delicious.  Bon Appetito!