Pasta Giardiniera AKA Farmer’s Market Pasta

Penne Giardiniera

Pasta Giardiniera translates Garden Pasta. It is a vegetarian (and vegan) pasta, but of course you can always add some meat if you prefer. Feel free to use any pasta you like.

In my first novel, Deception in Siena, Antonio Cortese and his Aunt Chiara go to the garden to see what they can find. If you don’t have your own vegetable garden, the next best option is to go to your local Farmer’s Market and see what fresh, seasonal produce is available.

I’ve named my version “Farmer’s Market Pasta” because I love to support the local farmers and believe that local farmer’s markets are one of the best places to buy fresh, full-flavored local produce.

Recipes for Giardiniera sauces are very flexible. You can use whatever fresh, seasonal vegetables that you like. Often the base sauce would be a standard tomato or Marinara sauce. I’ve chosen to do this version with our un-cooked Pomodoro sauce which is a little lighter and fresher.

Fresh Asparagus
Farfalle (Bow-tie) Giardiniera
Crook neck zucchini

Frankie’s Tips:
♦ If the weather is nice, consider grilling your
vegetables on the barbecue! This is my favorite
way to cook them for optimal flavor. If you don’t
have a vegetable grilling pan for your barbecue,
then cut the vegetables in larger slices for grilling and then cut them smaller afterwards. You could also skewer them.
♦ Another good method is to cook them in a grill
pan with raised ridges. If you don’t have one, any sauté pan will work.
♦ Depending on the season, some of my favorite
veggies for this are asparagus, peppers, zucchini or other squash, eggplant, broccoli raab, and onions (small onions like Cipollini’s are perfect).

Heirloom Tomatoes

Suggested Wine: Nebbiolo
The name Nebbiolo comes from the root word nebbia which means fog in Italian. It hales from the northern Italian region of Piedmont. There, the fog sits upon the valleys and hillsides throughout the autumn, slowing the ripening process, and developing great depth of character.


Giardiniera Recipe – serves 5-6:

  • 1-pound pasta of your choice
  • 1 recipe Pomodoro Sauce (recipe below)
  • Fresh vegetables of your choice–cut into bite size pieces
  • Extra Virgin olive oil (to toss vegetables with)
  • Parmesan or other hard Italian cheese–grated or curled
  • Fresh herb of your choice for garnish

Giardiniera Procedure:

  1. Prepare Pomodoro sauce and set aside. It’s even better if made a day ahead and refrigerated overnight.
  2. Toss vegetables with olive oil and cook until tender (See Frankie’s Tips above).
  3. Heat 4 quarts of water and add a tablespoon of salt when it begins to boil. Cook pasta until al dente. Reserve 1/4 cup of pasta water before draining.
  4. While pasta is cooking, combine sauce and veggies and warm gently over low heat. Salt and pepper to taste.
  5. When pasta is al dente, add to sauce along with the 1/4 cup of reserved pasta water. Toss together.
  6. Garnish with cheese and herbs.
  7. Tell God “mille grazie” for the delicious meal that is going to make you vibrant and healthy!
Pomodoro Sauce

Pomodoro Sauce recipe – makes 5-6 servings

  • 1 – 28 oz. can Whole Peeled Tomatoes
  • 2-3 cloves fresh garlic—pressed
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil—julienned
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (preferably Sea Salt)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Pomodoro Sauce Procedure:

  • Smell the fresh basil and say “thank you” to God for the good things in life.
  • Place tomatoes with their juice in a large bowl. Crush tomatoes with your hands.
  • Stir in remaining ingredients. Refrigerate. I told you this was quick and easy!

Printable PDF for Pasta Giardiniera (AKA Farmer’s Market Pasta)

Printable PDF for Pomodoro Sauce

A great late summer pasta with Grilled Cherry Tomato Sauce & Chicken Italian Sausage

Orecchietti with Grilled Cherry Tomato Sauce and Chicken Italian Sausage

It has been a long time since I have posted any new recipes on the blog.  On April 1st, we lost our 26 year old daughter, just two days after I posted my article “The Journey to a Thankful Heart”.  Needless to say it turned our life upside down.  But I still love to cook and share my passion for food, so here is a delightful recipe I created for you.

We’ve had a beautiful September here in Seattle and I’ve got a tomato plant loaded down with sweet cherry tomatoes. So what to cook with them? They are great in pasta, especially if you roast or grill them in advance. This could easily be a vegetarian pasta but we chose to make it with a good Chicken Italian Sausage. It was very simple yet so delicious! I love cooking from the garden.

Click here, or on the photo above for the recipe

The Journey to a Thankful Heart

Frank & Rhonda in Pienza, TuscanyToday I am posting the second article in a series I am writing on food, cooking, and the table.  This second article is a deeply personal one.  I hope that you will enjoy it, and that it will help you in your own journey to a thankful heart.

Link to Article

Philosophizing about food, cooking and table

Frankie in the vineyard

Today I am beginning a series of articles on food, cooking, and the table.  My outlook on these things may seem unique to some of you.  My own perspective has changed much over the years.  My attitudes have been honed by life, by cooking, by gardening, by travel, by the view of others who love food, and maybe even by the One who created it all.

If you might indulge me a bit, I’d like to begin with two short stories.  The first took place see more…

Sangiovese grapes

My wife Rhonda checking out the fruit

More cooking from my garden… Salmon with Lemon-Basil Pesto

Lemon-Basil Pesto

One of the things I always make in the summer is fresh Basil Pesto.  A recipe can be found in my cook book, Frankie at Home in the Kitchen.

This summer I did a little twist on the recipe.  I grew some basil known as Lemon Basil.   I made a batch of pesto with it and it was the most delicious pesto I have ever made!  The color was very bright green and the flavors were fresh, lemony and bright.

Salmon with Lemon-Basil Pesto

I used this pesto on some salmon we grilled to share with friends.  It was amazing!  So may I suggest that next year you try to find a Lemon Basil plant.  I found mine at Molbak’s Nursery in Woodinville.

Buon appetitio!