Farmstand: Pesto Pasta with Summer Veggies

Up the street from our house on Lopez there’s a farm that grows organic veggies and gorgeous flowers, raises pigs and chickens, and generally supplies the island with fresh, local food. Needing dinner inspiration, I dropped by earlier this week and was reminded of what a bountiful harvest period we find ourselves in.

The farm stand works on an honor system - it’s open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, all year round. It’s not staffed, but rather is a collection of baskets, refrigerators and freezers tucked into a corner of a barn. You come, take what you need, write your name and total on a pad of paper, and slip your payment into the cash box. Even though this island has changed - a lot - since I grew up here, it’s comforting to me that the trust and small town feel still exists and can support businesses like these farmers.

Three freezers labeled chicken, pork, and lamb house the islands butchered meat products, when available. Sweet onions and papery tomatillos cluster in wicker baskets. Stems of garden flowers spill out of a bucket. Baskets of kale, beans, salad greens, zucchini, peppers, carrots, potatoes, and more crowd the two long refrigerators. They even grind their own wheat. Real food and plenty of it - you can get everything you need here.

Thoroughly inspired by the stems of fresh basil and ripe heirloom tomatoes, I boiled up some pasta and threw together a garden veggie pesto pasta medley with some toasted pine nuts. I add pine nuts to just about every thing (pasta! eggs! lasagne! salad!) and they elevate the dish with their crunchy, buttery (sometimes almost bacon-like) flavor.

At the end of summer I stock my freezer with homemade pesto (stored ice cube trays) and several nights per week I make some version of this dish, depending on what I have on hand.

Pesto noodles with summer veggies:

1/2 bag whole wheat spirals, penne, or the like, boiled in VERY salty water (it should take like the ocean)
Homemade basil pesto or fresh store-bought equivalent (go for fresh over jarred - the extra cost is totally worth it!)
Onion, zucchini, broccoli shoots, chard, etc., sautéed in olive oil with sprinkle of salt
Handful toasted pinenuts
Sliced heirloom tomatoes on top
Fresh ground pepper and extra salt to serve

(If I had it, I’d also grate parmesan on top or tear up some fresh mozzarella add it in. In fact, I made another batch later this week and added both :) )