in pursuit of more

living with just a little less

Basil Pistou Pasta Salad with Spelt Penne & Fresh Market Tomatoes

The quote above is one fit for the bounty that engulfs us at this time of year (at least in this part of the world!). Harvest season always gives me the chills, and it is worth noting that I am currently head over heels, knee-deep & no turning back in love with fresh farm produce.

This past Sunday, I was excited to hit the Farmer’s Market and arrived to realize I had but a meagre $25 cash to stock up for the next few days with fresh produce for our growing family. At first, I panicked, thinking it impossible that I could resist the urge to buy armloads of all the beautiful apples, peaches, and every other thing my heart desired. And then (after a stop at the bank machine only to recall I’d given my ATM card to the teenager to buy jeans), I decided I’d see instead how far I could make that $25 go.

After all, ever since the market experience in France and the subsequent realization that things just are not the same here at home, it is still incredibly important to me to support our local farmers whenever I can. It is also important to me (to try) to buy just what we need and not an apple more. So I am happy to report I did just fine, in fact, I really think I did better than fineWe’re halfway through the basketful of ripe yellow tomatoes I bought and we’ve got lettuce in the fridge to make another round of salads tomorrow night. There’s nothing rotting or screaming ‘eat me‘ after being purchased on a whim without a plan, or a thought to where it would go, or to who would consume it.

And it feels really good to know just how far $25 can actually go with (just a little) discipline, restraint, awareness, and forethought. And have I mentioned how absolutely incredible those tomatoes are right now? Not to mention the basil, and the zucchini, and the beans, peppers, eggplant, and just about everything else we can call ourselves lucky to have at our fingertips. Less may be more here, and when it is this good, that is really all we seem to need. This pasta salad brings together all those things to love in one bowl, & I hope you’ll enjoy this combo as much as we did!

Spelt Pistou Pasta Salad:

(2) cups dry pasta (I used spelt penne for this one)
(1/3) to (1/2) cup Basil Pistou
(1/3) cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
(2-3) ripe tomatoes, cut in wedges
(1/2) yellow, orange, or red pepper, chopped
(6-8) leaves fresh basil, cut into ribbons
black olives for garnish & black pepper (optional)

Make the pistou as described in this post (the last IPOM post). Feel free to play with your favourite pesto as well, I was super pleased to make this with the pistou as outlined as it was quite similar to a recipe shared with me by a good friend recently. Cook the pasta according to the package directions and drain when done. While the pasta cooks, prepare the sun-dried tomatoes, chopped pepper, fresh tomatoes, and basil ribbons*

*Cut basil ribbons by layering the leaves on top of one another and rolling them to make a tight roll. Then, using a sharp knife, cut horizontally to make uniform ‘ribbons’. Hint: you can also keep it real and rustic by tearing the leaves with your hands.

Start by tossing the still hot pasta with the pistou in a mixing bowl and stir well to combine. Add the chopped peppers and 2/3 of the prepared basil leaves and stir well. Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with olives, remaining basil ribbons (or torn leaves), fresh tomato wedges, and black pepper. Don’t be shy to add a little splash of extra olive oil to the top either, that never hurts!

Leftovers can also be enjoyed heated up a little to release the flavours and soften the pasta if has been stored in the fridge. I took this to work and shared the love with one of my favourite girls of all time, I don’t think she minded one bit!

Served with a loaf of crusty fresh bread, extra olives on the side, and a good friend to share it with, I can’t imagine a better way to enjoy this beautiful, bountiful season we are having. I’ll be sure to tell the tomato man this weekend how much we’ve enjoyed the fruits of his labour these past two weeks. I’ll be especially proud to tell him we didn’t waste a single morsel.

48 responses to “Basil Pistou Pasta Salad with Spelt Penne & Fresh Market Tomatoes

  1. My grocery budget is suppose to be strict but I fail to keep track! I watch what I buy but need to actually pay attention to whether I am over budget! Thanks Shira for the beautiful post. Great photos!

  2. You gave your card to a teenager? Sucker… 😀 Only joking… this sounds wonderful! Particularly the spelt pasta. (I’m trying to make chocolate pasta soon). Good to see you restraining your spending… how very… me 😀

  3. No, I don’t have a grocery budget and the thought of being restricted to $25 at my weekly farmers market excursion makes me shiver… I bow to your superior budgeting skills (not to mention creative food thinking). And, LM will NOT be seeing this post!

    Hugs from me

    1. It IS a very tough to thing to do J – but a very interesting exercise, and would you believe we haven’t even eaten it all and it is Friday?! It’s crazy! I’ll be sure to help you hide it from LM…
      Hugs back!! XX 🙂

  4. I’m not sure what’s more beautiful, the tomatoes, the bread, the olives or the finished salad. I think I must be really hungry right now because it is all beckoning to me in a really big way. You’ve just solved my dinner conundrum, I had a leek, fennel (yes, I finally found it) and potato soup planned, but needed something delicious to round it out.

    Off to the kitchen! XOXO!

      1. Ha! Your pasta salad was the star! I’m not sure I’m going to post the soup recipe since it was hugely unphotogenic, but here’s the gist, sweat 2 chopped leeks and the bulb and stalks of the fennel (reserve fronds) for 20 minutes in a bit of olive oil. Add 2 minced cloves garlic, 4 small diced potatoes with skins on and saute for a few minutes more. Add a quart of veggie stock. Season with salt and pepper to taste. You can then eat as is or pulse it a bit with a stick blender to make it creamier or even blend a bit of the soup with a 1/2 cup of cashews and return to the pot like I did. Mince the fronds and stir in at the end. 😉

        1. Awesome! I am so glad the pasta was a hit! This soup sounds really glorious….I am going to try it this weekend as I love fennel and need more god uses for it..I love a creamy potato soup too and so does the family! Thanks Somer!! XX

  5. I’m not sure I’m head over heels in love with the fresh produce anymore – yes, I love it, but will be happy when it is all dealt with and the garden is put to rest. I wish we had small bits of fresh produce from the garden year round, instead of all at once, but I’ll take what I can get. Your pasta looks mouth watering and beautiful!

    1. Thanks! I love this Heidi – I am sure you are almost done with all that hard work! I really admire you for what you do in the garden and with growing your own foods – I’d love a garden like yours someday! XX

  6. I love the colours in this dish! Never had spelt pasta before. We kind of have a budget. Although we find that planning our meals on the weekend for the upcoming week helps. It helps us figure out what we need to get and we end up trying to plan dishes that use similar ingredients (to use up everything). It takes more work than just winging it but pays off in the end, especially in our busy lives. We also end up saving money because of how we plan. In the summer, we budget for getting CSA share, so we hardly buy vegetables in the summer.

    1. Fabulous tips and good on you for supporting the CSA’s! It is amazing how planning actually does make your money go farther – thanks for the encouragement! X

  7. Gorgeous Shira! You are inspiring me to see how far I can stretch my money at the farmer’s market this weekend! I love the idea of only going with a limited amount of money. I bet I can get so much compared to a grocery store and support local farmers to boot 🙂

    This is gorgeous! What a great way to use in season tomatoes while we still can!

    1. Thanks Gabby! It was a great experiment, one I hope to repeat as I still have produce left 5 days later…and it feels great! I’d love to know how you make out if you try it 🙂 XX Happy Friday!

  8. I wished i would be able to stick to a grocery budget. i am currently eating out A LOT but also working a lot so there is a balance again i suppose. I am busier than ever and miss my stove like crazy. i havent been cooking much lately just taking salad lunches to work which is totally not be but hopefully will get back to normal soon again! i love this pasta dish and yeah black olives and crusty bread… is heaven to me!

  9. Your posts are always so beautiful! Now I’m hungry…

    I ALWAYS over-buy at the Farmers Market. Maybe this week I’ll see how far I can make $25 go. Well, since my market takes debit cards I don’t see myself being that disciplined, especially when a honeycrisp apple is staring me in the face!

    1. Rachel, thanks!!! I am so happy you enjoy the posts! And your market takes debit cards? Wow!! Not that it would have helped me when I loaned mine (hehe). I am with you on the Honey Crisps too…and when they cost $2 each it is important to me I enjoy every bite, which is impossible not to this time of year :)!! XX

  10. After reading your posts I always leave so happy and with a smile on my face – it is so nice knowing there are others that are so passionate and in love with local homegrown food and the people that grow it for us – my love affair with the Farmers Market and my CSA Farmer Starts in May and comes to an end at the end of October. IN addition to my own little garden heaven I am always surrounded by inspiration that comes from all the wonderful produce growing and grown for me. I love letting the market inspire my weekly meals, it is the only way we eat this time of year….

    hahaha grocery budget – what’s that? I tried once and failed – and I really have no need to stick to one as food is one of my main loves and my $$ is helping to support another local family.

    I remember I nearly had a panick attack when I stopped at the farmers market with only $20 – i too found that I could make that $20 stretch and ended up getting my most wanted items 🙂

    Thank you for inspiring me with your posts and making me smile when I visit 🙂

    1. Heather, you made me so very happy with this comment – you are always so thoughtful and take the time to really share – I LOVE this about you! So very happy to share in this love with you…and to know you can relate so well to my $25 dollar story! This just brought a giant smile to my face – thank YOU! X Have a wonderful wonderful weekend! X X

  11. I had the immense pleasure of running across your blog posts–you have a gorgeous writing style, not to mention approach to life! I loved every moment of reading this post, We have a farmer’s market right next to my place that I frequent every Thursday; I’m still bummed to the max that our local monthly produce service got canceled, but I try and make up for it with my weekly market runs. You’ve really done a kindness here, charming gardener–I’ll be looking forward to more reading! Until then!

    1. Thanks so much Wallflourgirl! (Love the name, so clever!) – so happy you came across my blog and enjoyed this post! Appreciate your kind words very much 🙂 Look forward to seeing you again!

  12. Totally with ya’ on the local food thing! Though I’m disappointed to find much of the food at our “local market” is from out of state – which is better than out of the country I guess, but sad none the less.
    We don’t really have a food budget. Since it’s a necessity of life, we get what we need and splurge a bit. I cook for 7 people so I relate to the challenges you mention. Tastes seem to change from week to week and it’s hard to keep up with that! 🙂 *What? You wanted cottage cheese last week, so I got some. Now you’re not eating it this week???* lol 😛
    It’s fun though.
    Beautiful photos and post!

  13. oh my gosh that sounds SO delicious! and so beautiful too! i love the produce at this time of year too – i didn’t realize my love until i went to check out and the total was 32 buck! ah well, better in the farmer’s pocket than a big superchain 🙂

    1. Totally agree with you Caralyn! It is so nice to pay the people who grow the food we eat directly – I always find I enjoy it a little more if I can get there 🙂

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