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August 21, 2006

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Here's an easy one...I found this in a Ladies Home Journal magazine April 1997 issue. I must have torn it out at the Dentist's office...! It's perfect for this time of year with all the fresh basil and tomatoes in season.

Penne Bruschetta

4 cups diced tomatoes
1/3 cup virgin olive oil
1/4 cup packed fresh basil leaves, sliced thin
4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 or 3 cloves minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 pound penne pasta
3/4 teaspoon course salt
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesean cheese

Combine tomatoes, oil, basil, vinegar, garlic and pepper in large bowl. Let stand 15 minutes. Meanwhile, cook the pasta and drain. Heat a large non-stick skillet over high heat. Add tomatoe mixture and salt, cook until hot, 2 or 3 minutes. Toss with pasta and transfer to serving bowls. Sprinkle tops with parmesean. Makes 4 servings.

It's good left over cold too. I forgot to cook the tomatoes once and that didn't matter either!

This time of year I am always looking for way to eat the wonderful fresh summer sqush exploding from my garden or available in the local farmer's market. I have been doing something similar to Kate's recipe of simple tomato & basil pasta sauce with the addition of a few slices small summer sqash or zuke. Toss the squash into the pan with some olive oil and saute for a few minutes before you add the tomato mixture. Great way to include an extra veggie in the pasta.

Simple tomato sauce from Cook's Illustrated

1 28 oz can tomatoes - diced (not packed
in puree or sauce)
2 medium garlic cloves
3 tbsps olive oil
2 tbsps chopped fresh basil
1/2 tsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt (less or none)

Drain tomatoes reserving liquid. Dice in 1/4". Add enough liquid to total 2 cups. Process garlic through press. Heat oil & garlic on medium heat about 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes. Stir in basil, sugar & salt and cook, stirring constantly for 1 minute.

This sauce makes a good base for lasagna, or manicotti.

How about a non-tomato based sauce? This was suggested to me by fellow Ninecook, Jennifer N. as an easy weekday dinner. (I adapted it to go with pasta when I found I had no rolls last night…)

Chicken Sausage with Peppers and Onions

2 sweet red peppers cut into chunks
1 large onion sliced (or more – I can never get enough onion in this kind of dish!)
4 chicken sausages sliced (your choice of flavor)
a few grinds of black pepper to taste
Sauté in a little olive oil until the veggies are relaxed (but not mushy) and the sausage starts to brown.
1 lb of you favorite chunky sized pasta (, orecchiette, ruote, campanelle etc.) cooked and drained
Toss all the ingredients in a big bowl.
Add a generous handful of fresh grated Parmesan cheese and some torn up fresh basil leaves.
If you are lucky there will be leftovers for lunch. But don’t count on it.

This is fun dish since the shape of the food is part of the pleasure. You can really riff on Asian mind-set of the importance of the different shapes of the foods so that they compliment each other.

After restyling the kitchen I had to move everything around and for a short time I was using my conservatory to cook in, this was not the ideal situation as most know that conservatory furniture is not the ideal design for preparing food on, you have helped with some great recipes to keep me from going mad.

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