We have had a great season in the community garden so far this summer! We have been so busy and traveled quite a bit that it has been challenging to use up or preserve all of our garden harvest. Good problems, I know, but still challenging. We have been able to share some of our surplus produce with friends which is always nice and it has been wonderful to see the boys working in the garden and realizing the fruits of their labor.
I started making this Caprese pasta dish last summer when we had lots of cherry and grape tomatoes to use. It is one of our favorite ways to use an abundant tomato harvest.
I know that balsamic vinegar is an integral part of a good caprese salad, but I don't use it here and I still call this a caprese pasta because of the tomatoes, mozzarella, fresh basil, and olive oil. You can always add a little balsamic vinegar or balsamic glaze if you like, but it is good on it's own.
We love this dish with all the wonderful flavors that compliment each other and the sweet Italian sausage is amazing, especially with fresh sweet basil. You can use plain Italian sausage if you like, but we prefer the subtle sweetness of sweet Italian sausage which is more kid-friendly. Our kids think regular Italian sausage is on the spicy side, but love the sweet.
I have made this pasta dish with orzo and with ditalini pasta and both are delicious. You could use any small pasta. Here is a picture from a pan made with orzo and fresh cubed mozzarella.
I have used fresh and frozen spinach when making this dish and don't think it makes a whole lot of difference. Usually it comes down to what I have on hand.
Enjoy this delicious summer pasta! Need more meal ideas? Here are a few of my favorite dishes for using fresh garden produce.
Stuffed Pepper Casserole
Butternut Squash and Sausage Casserole
Easy Weeknight Chicken Fajitas
Italian Sausage Caprese Pasta
1 lb. ground Italian Sausage (we like sweet Italian sausage)
8 oz. Ditalini or Orzo pasta
1 package 6 oz. fresh Spinach or 1 box 10 oz. frozen spinach, thawed
1/2 to 1 lb. cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
Cubed fresh mozzarella or shredded mozzarella
Salt and Pepper to taste
Fresh basil leaves, torn or sliced (optional)
1. Heat a saucepan of water to boiling to make pasta.
2. Heat skillet to medium. Drizzle hot skillet with a little olive oil. Brown Italian sausage in skillet until cooked through.
3. While sausage is cooking, cook pasta according to package directions. Once cooked, drain pasta.
4. Next add spinach to skillet (with sausage) to wilt. If using thawed frozen spinach you can add it here too. Add a drizzle of olive oil if needed. Then add cooked pasta.
5. Stir in tomatoes and cook for a few minutes to soften the tomatoes slightly. Salt and pepper to taste.
6. Top with some fresh mozzarella or shredded mozzarella if you like.
7. Remove from heat and garnish with fresh basil leaves.
When I think of summer food, I think of grilling and one of my favorite things to grill is kabobs. I love kabobs because you can easily grill so many wonderful fresh fruits and vegetables along with flavorful morsels of meat.
Our favorites are onion, pineapple, and cherry tomatoes, but you can use any combination you like. Another favorite is mushrooms, red, yellow, or green peppers and onion. Zucchini and squash rounds would also be delicious. You could even try skewering small wedges of cabbage with onion, although they would probably take longer to grill.
And the marinade! Wow is it good! A simple teriyaki made from just 5 ingredients, olive oil, honey, soy sauce, pepper, and garlic. I love using honey in marinades. It gives it just the right sweetness. It takes a little longer to mix in the honey, but it is so worth it.
Yuuuummm! The flavors of summer slowly roasting on the grill. What more could you want? Maybe a glass of wine and a babysitter? Sounds good to me!
Actually, one of the best things about grilling is eating on the patio. When the kids are finished we usually let them play and we get a minute to ourselves to enjoy a glass of wine and a quiet moment together.
Honey Chicken Kabobs
1/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
4-6 boneless chicken breast halves, cubed (Use as much or as little chicken as you need for your family. I would use approximately one chicken breast per person.)
An assortment of fruit and vegetables:
Onion, cut into wedges
Red, yellow, or green bell peppers, cut into 2 inch pieces
Canned or fresh pineapple chunks (I don't marinate pineapple)
Zucchini or squash rounds or chunks
Cherry tomatoes (I also don't marinate the tomatoes)
Metal or bamboo skewers (If using bamboo, soak them in water for a couple of hours before assembling.)
1. In a large zipper seal bag or covered container combine oil, honey, soy sauce, pepper, and garlic.
2. Add the chicken and vegetables and marinate in the refrigerator for 2 hours or more.
3. Skewer the meat and vegetables.
4. Preheat the grill and lightly oil the grill grate.
5. Grill until chicken looks done and juices run clear.
Welcome to Home Ec @ Home
Hi, I'm Faith, a former Family and Consumer Science teacher turned food blogger. I love God, my family, and food. You can usually find me in the kitchen preparing family friendly, homemade recipes and taking lots of pictures.
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