The plants in my vegetable garden are pumping out ripe fruit at a frightening pace. When I blink tomatoes turn from green to orange and red. While I'm sleeping cucumbers stretch longer and new ones appear suddenly making for big harvests and big batches of freezer pickles and fermented dills. The zucchini I was making freezer pickles from is slowing down but still producing, and the Little Fingers Asian eggplant is making bunches of slender shiny fruits. It is a perfect time to make garden vegetable pasta sauce.
I use several different recipes, depending on what and how much is ripe. Peter Berley's The Vegetarian Option offers a recipe that includes zucchini, eggplant, tomato, red onion, garlic and basil, all of which we have coming out of the garden now. (The recipe can be found here. I'm not sure if the site has stolen his content, but you should buy Berley's book anyway - it's filled with excellent recipes, both healthful and flavorful, that are of great use in an active kitchen whether you are a vegetarian or not.)
If your veggies are going all Little Shop of Horrors like mine, you'll want me to cut to the chase and give you that recipe for a chunky garden vegetable pasta sauce I teased you in here with. We have discussed throwing clams, mussels, blue crabs, lobster, chunks of striped bass or bluefish, and maybe some cherry stones (small quahogs) into it along with some fennel bulb and saffron and just calling it a bouillabaisse, but then it wouldn't can or freeze well or for as long.
Garden Vegetable Pasta Sauce
3 T olive oil
2.5 Cups diced onion
3 sweet peppers, seeded and diced (green, yellow, red, what have you)
6 medium cloves garlic, minced or pressed
2 Cups diced eggplant
3 carrots, small dice
3 Cups diced zucchini
8 oz shiitake sliced and cut into inch-long pieces
1/4-Cup fresh oregano, minced
1/2-Cup fresh basil, chopped
1/2-Cup fresh parsley, chopped or minced
salt and pepper to taste
Heat oil in a dutch oven. Add onions and cook over medium heat until softened. Add the garlic, peppers and carrots and cook until the vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. Add zucchini and mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30-minutes, stirring occasionally. Add herbs, salt and pepper, then cook for another 5 minutes. Serve over pasta.