I've never made this recipe with frozen vegetables, but I'm betting it'd still be very tasty, so that's also an option and a huge time saver. With those, this meal would be ready in about the time it takes to cook the pasta.
But whether using fresh produce or a frozen blend of vegetables, be sure to shop the sales. The same approach applies to the expensive ingredients like the fettuccine or feta cheese called for in this meal. You will never catch me paying full price for these pricey items, unless it’s a very special occasion meal.
But if I’m planning my menus for the week ahead using the store flyer (as I always am) and notice that they’re on sale, I might make a point of putting this recipe, or others that might call for them, such as my Pasta with Spinach, Tomato, and Feta, on my meal plan for the coming 7 days.
This recipe, one of my oldest, is a perfect example of that. Its flexibility is one of the clearest examples in my repertoire of recipes being a mere guideline, meant for adaptation and personalization. I cook it as written most of the time now, but I’ve been known to use whatever vegetables I have on hand when I’m in the need of a very quick and easy meal.
Feel free to add or exchange vegetables to suit your taste or whatever happens to be on sale. As is, the recipe calls for about 6 cups of cut up vegetables, but you may wish to have more or less, depending on your personal taste. You may even prefer the simplicity and ease of using only one vegetable. The recipe will still work, even if it’s not as colorful.
Here’s the recipe:
Pasta with Summer Vegetables, Lemon and Feta
Makes 8 large servings (can easily be halved)
Prep time – Approx. 30 minutes
Start to finish meal time – Approx. 30 minutes
Total recipe cost – Approx. $10.00
Total per person meal cost with fresh bread and tossed salad – Approx. $1.75
1 pound fettuccine, linguine, or pasta of your choice (more or less to your taste is fine, too)
2 medium carrots (about 1 cup, diced, shaved, or sliced)
2 medium yellow squash (to make approximately 2 cups, diced)
2 zucchini (to make approximately 2 cups, diced)
1 medium broccoli crown (or vegetable of your choice)(to make approximately 1 cup)
1-2 leeks or 1-2 bunches of scallions (optional)
2 medium onions
4-6 cloves garlic
1 bunch fresh flat Italian parsley (to make about 1/2 cup, chopped)
-OR- 2 tablespoons dried parsley (approx.)
2-3 tablespoons olive or canola oil
1 vegetable bouillon cube
1 cup water
1-2 lemons or 4-6 tablespoons lemon juice (or to taste)
1 teaspoon pepper (or to taste)
1 cup feta cheese (or Parmesan)
Recipe continues after photos.
- Put about 2 quarts of water in a 3-6 quart covered pan, cover, and put it on to boil over high heat. When the water boils, add the pasta to the boiling water and set the timer for 6-12 minutes, depending on the type of pasta. When it is done to your taste, drain and rinse it in a colander and set it aside, covered, over a pot of water over low heat on the stove until you are ready for it.
- Meanwhile, heat the 2-4 tablespoons of oil in a large pot over medium heat.
- Peel and dice the 2 onions. Stir them into the oil and leave them to cook for about 7-9 minutes or so, or until translucent, while you go on to prepare the rest of the vegetables. You'll just want to stir them occasionally during the cooking process.
- While the onions are cooking, peel and chop or mince the garlic cloves and set them aside.
- Scrub and/or peel the 2 carrots, and use a vegetable peeler or a sharp knife to shave off ribbons from the carrots or cut it into thin pieces about 1-inch in length. You can also just dice them, if you’d prefer that approach.
- Wash the 2 summer squash and the 2 zucchini squash, remove the stem ends, and cut it in half lengthwise. Cut each half lengthwise into narrow strips and then cut across the strips to make small pieces about 1/4 -1/2 inch in size. Set aside with the carrots.
- Wash the broccoli crown and cut through the stem and florets to make pieces about 1 inch in size and set them aside with the other vegetables.
- If you are using the leek, peel off the outer layers of the leek and wash it under running water. Cut off about ½ inch form the stem end and about 1/3 to ½ of the green end. Cut off about ½ inch from the stem end. Cut the leek lengthwise in quarters and then crosswise into strips about 1-2 inches in length. Wash the cut leek leaves again in a pan or bowl of clean water after cutting them to make sure they are clean. Scoop the leaves out with your hands and set them aside.
- If you are using scallions, cut off the stems, and remove any damaged outer leaves. Cut across the scallions to make pieces about ¼ inch in size. I like to use as much of the scallion as possible, so I cut it up as far up the green part as possible.
- Wash and coarsely chop the parsley to make about ½ cup. Set it aside.
- Wash the lemon and roll it back and forth about 10 times on a firm surface, pressing hard with the palm of your hand.
- Cut it in half crosswise and use a lemon press to squeeze each half to make about 4-6 tablespoons.
- Dissolve the bouillon cube in the 1 cup of water in a pot on the stove, or in a cup in the microwave.
- Add the garlic to the cooked onions in the pot and cook for about one minute. Stir in the carrots, squash, broccoli, leek or scallions, and parsley, and cover. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes.
- Add the bouillon broth, lemon, and pepper to the vegetable mix and blend well. Cover and simmer for about 5 minutes.
- Sprinkle the feta or Parmesan over the vegetable mix. Carefully add the cooked and drained pasta to the vegetable mix. Toss it and the vegetable sauce together in the pot until well blended.
- Serve the pasta with a tossed salad and some garlic bread or a nice loaf of fresh bread, if desired.