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 give 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 meager $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 in 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 favorite 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 flavors 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 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 labor these past two weeks. I’ll be especially proud to tell him we didn’t waste a single morsel.

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ShiraBasil Pistou Pasta Salad with Spelt Penne & Fresh Market Tomatoes