I don’t know about where you live, but it gets really hot in Missouri in the summer. When it’s easily 101 every day for a week, I don’t want to eat anything to hot or too heavy. So since my family eats pasta like it’s a religious rite, I had to find a way to make pasta not too heavy and not too hot.
It seems pretty simple in retrospect, especially since I always eat a vegetable directly in my pasta anyway. So skip the marinara and let’s get started.
First, gather your ingredients. You’ll need whatever pasta makes you giddy. I like to use spaghetti, but any shape will do. You’ll also need olive oil, fresh garlic, tomatoes (preferably grape, but I used Roma), asparagus, peas, Parmesan cheese, and mozzarella (preferably fresh).
Start by putting your pasta on to boil on a back burner. Then chop your garlic finely and sautee it in the olive oil. I used about three tablespoons of oil, but the ratio will depend on how much oil you want on your pasta and how many people you’re feeding. Be careful not to overcook the garlic and burn it. If you burn it you’ll have to start over. While they’re getting to know each other, chop your tomatoes. If you’re using grape tomatoes you’ll only need to chop them in half. If you’re using anything larger you’ll want to dice them. Once the water for the pasta boils, put the pasta in. Then put on water for your other vegetables. I would cook the asparagus and the peas separately, but you can cook them together. I like to cook my asparagus until it’s pretty soft. I boil peas for about 5 minutes, and asparagus about 10 minutes or until I’m tired of waiting. Whichever comes first.
Check on your garlic and oil. If you’ve burned it, that’s okay, start over. If not, toss in your tomatoes. Let them warm and get slightly browned. Once that’s done, pull them off the burner and dump the mixture into a bowl.
When your asparagus and peas are cooked, strain them and put them in separate bowls. Or the same bowl, whatever. Let your pasta cook until you’re ready. I like to keep them al dente, but not everyone does. While the pasta is cooking, slice your mozzarella. I left mine in round slices, but you could chop it smaller or dice it. It really ought to be a rule for my recipes that you do what works for you. Or as my little would say, you do you.
Now that everything is ready, it’s time to put them together. Fill the bottom of your bowl with pasta, then add the amount of asparagus and peas that you like. I recommend putting your Parmesan cheese in now. Then add your tomatoes, and top with your garlic olive oil. Toss together so that the olive oil coats the whole dish. Then either place your cheese slices on top, or toss in your cubed cheese. Let the cheese melt a little, then nom at will.