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Simple Summer Pastas

Martha Stewart Living, August 2011

Resistance is futile. Take a stroll through the summertime farmers' market intending to buy just a few things, and you'll walk out with your bags bursting at the seams. Luckily, transforming your swag into supper is easy. Fresh, flavorful vegetables and herbs warrant a light touch -- and give you permission to improvise. All you need are some toothy pastas, a few staples (lemon, olive oil, garlic), and the sense to save some of the pasta water when draining; the starchy, slippery liquid finishes the sauces and melds all the elements together. Then sit down to a meal worthy of your ingredients: a delicious celebration of summer's extravagance.

Recipes

Croxetti with Marinated Heirloom Tomatoes

Ripe, juicy tomatoes, the stars of the dish, get a boost when marinated in garlic-infused olive oil, toasted garlic chips, capers, and basil. Toss them with croxetti, a flat pasta, or maltagliati (on the cover). The beauty of this colorful dish, which does double-duty as a centerpiece, is that you can serve it at room temperature.

Croxetti with Marinated Heirloom Tomatoes

Long Fusilli with Potatoes and Haricots Verts in Lemon Sauce

Tangy lemon zest and juice make a fragrant backdrop for a tangle of fusilli and basil. The pasta strands are entwined with fingerling potatoes and haricots verts in this update on the classic duo of potatoes and green beans.

Long Fusilli with Potatoes and Haricots Verts in Lemon Sauce

Pennoni with Grilled Eggplant, Mint, and Burrata

When cooked on the grill, eggplant takes on a smoky intensity that offsets the burrata cheese, a creamier cousin of mozzarella that melts into the pasta. With the addition of refreshing mint and lemon zest, the dish is comfort food at its best and brightest.

Pennoni with Grilled Eggplant, Mint, and Burrata

Campanelle with Corn, Scallions, and Arugula

This dish is sweet and savory with a little heat. The puree of fresh corn creates a milky sauce that binds bacon, scallions, and corn kernels and is caught in the twirly hollows of campanelle. A Thai chile, sliced paper thin, heightens the bite of the fresh peppery arugula.

Campanelle with Corn, Scallions, and Arugula

Pici with Summer Squashes and Tarragon

Tender summer squashes are a sweet foil for the cool, bracing flavor of anise, which comes in the form of ouzo and a handful of fresh tarragon leaves. The glossy, mouthwatering sauce -- which also contains a touch of cream, white wine, onion, and garlic -- coats strands of pici, a long spaghettilike pasta with a hollow center.

Pici with Summer Squashes and Tarragon