Farmer’s Market Pasta (Spicy Spaghetti with Prosciutto, Cherry Tomatoes, and Zucchini)

tonyr_cook_kTony writes: You lose me at “farmer’s market” in the recipe title. Hell, I lose me at  “farmer’s market” in my own recipe titles. It sounds vaguely snobbish if not overly ambitious: hey, throw this dish together and, oh yeah, do stop off at the greenmarket on the way home. Also, these sorts of summery, vegetable-centric dishes can be a little precious; bland and overly respectful, shortchanging flavor (heat, spice, intensity, etc…). True, you don’t want to overwhelm summer produce with unnecessary artifice, but that doesn’t mean dinner needs to be boring either.

So why call this a farmer’s market pasta? Well, first, I’m a complete hack. But also the dish is loaded with the things you’ll find at the farmer’s market right now (or your garden or supermarket or whatever). And it’s good, too, the kind of thing that might change the way you look at the summer harvest, with plenty of heat and meatiness (from prosciutto) and textures and colors. Call it what you like, but do give it a try.

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The technique: This is a basic stir-sauteed pasta. Sear a bunch of vegetables while you cook the pasta (any long noodle will do), join the two in the skillet and saute, tossing, until the pasta soaks up the different flavors. Toss with basil and prosciutto and Parmigiano and serve drizzled with plenty of olive oil and black pepper; American ingredients, Italian-inspired.

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1. Get prepped: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Halve 1 pint grape tomatoes. Cut 1 medium zucchini (about 6 oz.) into thin strips. Remove the kernels off 2 ears corn. Seed and then finely dice 1 jalapeno. Wash and pat dry 10 fresh basil leaves.

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2. Cook the pasta and vegetables: Add a generous sprinkling of salt to the water, drop 1 lb. dried spaghetti (or any other long noodle), and cook, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is tender but still toothy, about 10 min. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 3 Tbs. olive oil and 2 smashed garlic cloves and once the garlic starts to sizzle steadily and become fragrant, add the zucchini. Sprinkle lightly with S+P and cook, stirring, until it softens and browns lightly, about 2 minutes. Add the grape tomatoes, corn, and jalapeno,  sprinkle generously with S+P, and cook, stirring, until the corns turns bright yellow and the tomatoes soften and start to leech off their juices, about 3 minutes. Stir in the basil and remove from the heat.

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3. Stir-saute and serve: Drain the pasta well. Set the skillet back over medium-high heat, add the pasta, 3 Tbs. olive oil, and a generous sprinkling of black pepper, and cook, stirring, so the flavors mix and meld, 1 to 2 minutes. Toss with 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano, 3 oz. prosciutto (thinly strips), and a squirt of fresh lemon juice. Add more oil and S+P to taste. Serve immediately.