Farm Fresh Pasta Primavera Alfredo is a hearty pasta entrée that’s on the table in under 30 minutes. Reduced or fat-free dairy products lighten the calorie load of traditional Alfredo sauce without burying the light flavors of the farm fresh produce.
It’s summer time!! That means that the farmer’s markets are popping up all over. We have a really cool one by work that has amazing produce. There’s one booth in particular that has cool and interesting produce that I haven’t seen at a farmer’s market before. I usually head straight to that booth when I first get there.
This is just one of many reasons to purchase from your local farmer’s market; you can purchase fresh and delicious foods that you may not find at your local grocery store. Even those that boast “farm fresh produce” only purchase certain items locally if they even purchase local at all.
Just look at how simple this is to prepare!! Saute some veggies, cook up some pasta, simmer some sauce, and dinner is on the table in less than 30 minutes. And see how colorful and delicious that looks!! The vegetables have fabulous color and amazing flavor. The sauce has rich flavor without all the calories. It’s light enough to allow the bright flavors of all the farm fresh produce to come through without skimping on deliciousness.
Purchasing locally has so many benefits!! First, there’s the health benefit. Foods purchased locally not only taste better, but the shorter travel distance means the produce isn’t as processed as its counterparts that are trucked or flown in to be sold in your local grocery store. The one comment that most who live overseas have about produce here is that it tastes like plastic. If you purchase farm fresh produce locally, it will taste amazing. I guarantee that you will not be disappointed.
Not only does it taste better, but it’s rich with vitamins and minerals. Over time, all food begins to break down and lose its key nutrients. Eating at the peak of the season gives you not only the most flavorful food, but the most rich in nutrients, vitamins, and minerals.
There’s the environment benefit. Because that food doesn’t have to travel as far, there’s less packaging needed, fewer fossil fuels used to transport that produce, shorter travel distances, and less packaging which means less pollution. Foods that have to travel farther are processed accordingly; to travel. That means additional pesticides and chemicals to maintain “freshness” until it arrives at the grocery store.
Then there’s the community benefit. When you purchase locally, you get to know the people in your community. You support local, family farmers, and support the local economy. Have a chat with your vendor and you might find a new way to cook beets or their favorite way to prepare asparagus. They might offer up a trick to peel a melon or seed a pumpkin. Once that communication line is opened, you can ask about the next batch of crops they plan to have and start preparing your menu accordingly.
You can also expand your menu accordingly. There’s a more unique and interesting variety found at my local farmer’s market. I have learned how to cook cool new ingredients and have blogged about their flavors. You just never know what you’re going to find at your local farmer’s market.
Then there’s the drool benefit. Seriously. Can you look at that dish and NOT start drooling. With all those colors and all that creamy goodness; how can you even imagine not heading to your local farmer’s market, buying these vegetables, and having this for dinner tonight? This was definitely one lunch I was completely excited to have the next day.
Confession time. For the longest time, I did not like squash or zucchini. Well, I still don’t like squash that much, but I found out that if I peeled them, I didn’t mind eating squash as much and actually did like zucchini. I know; the peel has a ton of nutrients in it, but there’s a flavor to the peel that I’m just not fond of after its cooked. I’d rather peel it and eat it than not peel it and hate it. Ever since I figured that out, we’ve eaten a ton of zucchini.
The local farmer’s market that I usually go to with the cool produce has the most interesting assortment of zucchini and squash. They usually have the most delicious golden zucchini. The flesh is yellow. Almost squash color and it has the most amazingly mild flavor. I can’t wait to get a bunch of this delicious vegetable and make this dish again.
This is the same stand where I have purchased amazing items like the golden beets, the black radishes, the Thai eggplants, and fabulous lemon basil that I made the best pesto with and can’t wait to see what herbs they have this year. I bee line straight to their booth to see what interesting and unique items I want to purchase and incorporate into our weekly menu. Thankfully, it’s on Fridays and I make the menu Saturday and Sunday morning. This makes it easy to purchase and cook something fantastic with the local produce.
I bee line straight to their booth to see what interesting and unique items I want to purchase and incorporate into our weekly menu. Thankfully, it’s on Fridays and I make the menu Saturday and Sunday morning. This makes it easy to purchase and cook something fantastic with the local produce.
See what I mean about looking forward to lunch the next day? This is what it looked like and it tasted fabulous. The cream sauce was still nice and creamy. The vegetables were tender, sweet, and just as fresh as can be. This is one of many reasons I don’t eat out for lunch; I have lunches like this to look forward to. I know. It sucks to be me.
All this month, #WeekdaySupper is serving up farm stand fresh recipes. I get to kick off this week with my version of pasta primavera. Who can’t think of primavera with bright and fresh vegetables like this at my local farmer’s market? It was the first thing that popped into my head when I saw this month’s theme. And, since we do a meat free meal once a week, it was easy for me to serve something up this month.
Farm Fresh Pasta Primavera Alfredo is a hearty pasta entree that's on the table in under 30 minutes. Reduced or fat-free dairy products lighten the calorie load of traditional Alfredo sauce without burying the light flavors of the farm fresh produce.
- 8 ounces cavatappi (or other short pasta)
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 1/2 cup chopped zucchini
- 1/2 cup chopped sweet onion
- 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
- 2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
- 1 cup fat-free half-and-half
- 1/4 cup reduced-fat Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente; about 12 to 15 minutes.
- While the pasta is cooking, preheat a large skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and saute one minute before adding the zucchini, onion, and bell peppers. Continue to saute the vegetables until they begin to soften; about 3 to 5 minutes.
- Stir in the tomatoes and continue to cook 2 to 3 more minutes before stirring in the cream and cheeses. Continue to simmer 4 to 5 minutes or until the sauce begins to thicken.
- By this time the pasta should be cooked. Drain and toss the hot pasta with the sauce. Serve with a fresh, tossed salad, and garlic bread.