Recipe Time – Garden Fresh Pasta Dish!

I am still discovering the ins-and-outs of this blog, and I appreciate your patience as I strive to find the rhythm of this new technological medium, and as I try to figure out why photos and links do not upload properly.  Regardless of my technology snafus, I do strive to share my passion for the Lord, and I want to remain faithful to the feature topics, “Gardens, Books, and Good Things to Cook” in the blogs created.  Basil-Basilico-Ocimum_basilicum-albahaca

Spring has arrived and down in the hollow the ‘hobby’ garden is underway.  I call it a ‘hobby’ garden, because it is a small garden and an experiment in patience and faith most of the time.  I was born in the grocery-store generation, but with food prices rising I decided to follow my grandparent’s example and attempt to grow my own food with my own two hands.  I wasn’t afraid of digging in the dirt, but I found without my grandparent’s gardening knowledge I had to plant as many prayers as seeds with the hope that God would help something good to grow.  Praise God from Who all blessings flow!

BasilFor the past couple of years I’ve been adding a few herbs to my garden and studying their culinary and medicinal purposes.  Italian basil has been my favorite and most successful herb to date, growing in pots or in the ground and it’s easy to dry and keep over winter.  I even discovered that deer tend to avoid it, so that is a bonus for preserving the garden.

This leads me to today’s “good things to cook” topic.  With fresh produce becoming more available this summer I like to try recipes that, one, are easy, and two, incorporate things from my garden or local farmer’s market.  Today’s recipe, “Garden Fresh Pasta Dish”, features three items found in my garden: tomatoes, green peppers, and my favorite herb, Italian basil.  It is a quick and easy dish for a family of four.  Enjoy!

Garden Fresh Pasta Dish

12 inch skillet (preferably with deep sides)

2 teaspoons olive oil

4 cups water

1 cup sliced portabella mushrooms (or your favorite mushroom)

1 cup thinly sliced green pepper

1 – 2 cups fresh spinach (it looks like a lot, but remember it wilts while cooking)

1 – 2 cups diced tomatoes (I prefer mine peeled and I use 2 cups)

12 ounces linguine pasta

2-3 cloves thinly sliced garlic (Can also use garlic powder or garlic salt)

1 teaspoon dried basil (or shred 5-10 fresh basil leaves)

¼ teaspoon black pepper

2 teaspoons coarse salt

Pinch of red pepper flakes (if you like spicy food use two pinches)

1 “pat” of butter for flavor (optional)

Place olive oil and pat of butter in skillet at medium to medium high heat.  Lay pasta across the center of the skillet.  Place tomatoes, green peppers, spinach, and mushrooms in corners around pasta. Pour water over veggies and pasta.  Mix garlic, basil, black pepper, red pepper flakes, and salt together and sprinkle evenly over entire pan of veggies and pasta.  Bring to boil. Cook 20 minutes, constantly stirring ingredients together until well blended; (I use a toss and stir technique with my pasta spoon).  Serve immediately!   Note:  this dish will make its own sauce and should not need additional sauces added to it.

The beauty of this recipe is that you can exchange your favorite veggies and seasonings to appeal to your own taste, with the basic principles of the dish remaining the same. For example, one of my friends adds fresh onion to her recipe, but skips the mushrooms because she doesn’t like them.  The recipe is flexible, nutritious and fun to make.  If you don’t have a garden or farmers market, take advantage of the produce and spice section in your favorite grocery store.  You’ll enjoy a good meal and they will appreciate your business!

**Blog followers, please let me know if you tried this recipe, and if you found it to be appetizing.**