One of the best things about cooking in the summer is that the ingredients you have lying around the house are especially delicious.
A few weeks back, both of us were too lazy to go to the grocery store but wanting to eat at home since we'd been going out a lot. With minimal rustling in the kitchen, I pulled together some heirloom tomatoes (a pound or so) and a couple of zucchini, both from our CSA box the week before; half a container of ricotta that needed to be used up; some pitted kalamata olives that had been hanging around the fridge for awhile; and a few kitchen staples (garlic, olive oil, parmesan, penne).
While the pasta cooked, I sliced up the zucchini into half moons and sauteed it very quickly in olive oil and garlic. I just wanted to take the raw edge off of it--I didn't want it soggy. I roughly chopped the olives and tomatoes (with skins and seeds intact--I was keeping the effort to a minimum) and tossed them into the pan with zucchini for one minute, just to warm them. A dash of salt and pepper and they were done.
When the penne was al dente, I tossed it with the ricotta until the pasta had a silky coating, then folded in the vegetables and a good handful of parmesan. A spoonful of starchy pasta water brought the dish together.
I dished it up and presented it to the husband.
"Warm summer pasta with tomatoes, olives, ricotta, and zucchini," I announced solemnly.
In spite of his claim to not be very fond of vegetarian pastas, this was a hit with the husband. I resisted revealing that many of the ingredients had been sitting around a bit and needed to be used up. While I revel in finishing things off, this translates to him as "old food" and would have surely taken the luster off this pasta he was inhaling, which, for the record, made an excellent lunch the next day, served at room temperature.