When the weekend’s greenmarket haul includes the sweetest cherry tomatoes, summer squash, fresh basil, sweet corn and locally made goat’s feta — naturally the only option is to create a pasta dish that brings all of these goodies together in one big bowl of summery deliciousness.
I first met the sungold variety of cherry tomatoes a few summers ago, and it instantly eclipsed all other little tomatoes in my mind. Unbelievably juicy and sweet but with a nice acidity, sungolds are delicious raw and also make a wonderful quick tomato sauce.
The sauce for this pasta dish is really just a quick veggie saute. The tomatoes break down within minutes creating a chunky, saucy texture, with a perfect balance of sweet and spicy, salty and briny from the olives, and satisfying, almost meaty texture from the tender chunks of zucchini .
I add the pasta (cooked al dente) and a splash of pasta cooking water to the sauce and let everything simmer for a minute to allow the flavors to come together. The saucy vegetable mixture coata the pasta in the most wonderful way, and all that’s needed is a drizzle of olive oil to finish — though I can’t help going slightly overboard by adding some crumbled feta, fresh basil and a sprinkling of my Viva Gomasio.
It would be only a slight exaggeration to say that I could happily eat this dish every day right through the end of summer (or when sungold season ends, whichever comes first). And it’s a perfect weeknight meal, since the sauce comes together in the time it takes to boil the pasta.
For the pasta component I used an einkorn penne that I really like, which is made by Jovial Foods. Einkorn is an ancient wheat variety, and some believe it is easier to digest than modern, hybrid varieties of wheat. These days I mostly use einkorn pasta or brown rice pasta (also by Jovial) if I want to go gluten-free.
Sungold tomato pasta with zucchini, feta, kalamatas and basil
Serves 4 to 6
12 ounces dried pasta of your choice (I used Jovial Foods’ einkorn penne)
extra virgin olive oil, as needed
1 garlic clove, sliced
1 medium zucchini, diced
kernels from 1 ear of sweet corn (about 1 cup)
2 cups cherry tomatoes (sungolds are my favorite), halved
1/3 cup kalamata olives, pitted and roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
crumbled feta (optional)
roughly torn fresh basil leaves
Viva Gomasio, to finish
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt generously, add pasta and stir. Set a timer for a couple of minutes less than the package directions.
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add zucchini and cook until it starts to caramelize, about 5 minutes. Add corn and cook for another minute. Add tomatoes, olives, a pinch of salt, and chili flakes. Cook until tomatoes break down, about 5 minutes more.
Transfer pasta to skillet with tomato mixture along with about 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid. Cook for 1-2 minutes more, until pasta is cooked to your liking. Drizzle with a little more olive oil and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Transfer pasta to serving dishes and add feta, basil, and gomasio. Serve immediately.