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