We entertain often and I try to be very aware of the various dietary needs of all of our guests. (If it is a dinner party I ask each guest in the RSVP to tell me if they have any dietary restrictions). I believe it is my responsibility to make sure that each guest feels welcome and cared for. Vegans are among the more dietarily challenging because of the need to avoid any dairy, meat, etc. However, it is not unusual these days to have guests who are vegan, guests who are gluten intolerant and guests who are lactose intolerant.
Each of these things isn’t a choice of the guest. They are legitimate dietary restrictions based on either physical reaction or personal belief. Taking a little extra time to make sure these guests are happy will ensure a great evening, not just for them but for everyone else too as they realize you’ve taken care of their friends.
This dish is a Vegan dish. Be sure to stick with vegetable broth and do not add cheese until serving and add cheese only to plates not being served to vegans.
- Zucchini and Summer Squash. Halved lengthwise and cut to bite sized chunks.
- Asparagus. Tough ends removed, cut on the bias to 1 inch in length.
- 2 Cups Cherry Tomatoes.
- 1 head garlic, roasted.
- 1 cup vegetable stock
- 1/2 tsp Italian Herbs
- 1 large Onion, diced.
- 1 small jar sun dried tomatoes in olive oil, diced rough, oil in jar reserved
- 1 package mini penne
- Water (for pasta)
- Salt and Pepper (to taste)
- Olive Oil.
Preheat Oven: Convection Roast, 450 Degrees.
Toss Zucchini, squash, and tomatoes to cover with olive oil. Pour onto baking sheet (prepared with non-stick spray), season liberally with salt and pepper, add to preheated oven,. Cook for 30 minutes, (removing once to stir). Remove from oven and pour onto foil on counter top to cool. Toss Asparagus with olive oil and pour onto same baking sheet. Season with salt and add to oven. Remove in 10 minutes. Add to zucchini, squash and tomatoes. Pour all into large glass bowl. Pour in cool vegetable stock, stir to combine.
Heat a large stock pot with enough water to come to 2” below top. Bring to a rolling boil. Season water with 2 TBs salt. Just before adding pasta add 2 TBs olive oil. Pour Pasta into Pot. Once pasta is in the pot, stir to incorporate into water. Stir again after one minute. Pasta will cook in about 5-8 minutes. The only way to tell when it’s done is to try it. It’s done when it is no longer chewy. It’s over done when it’s too soft.
When the texture is right, reserve one cup of the pasta water. Then drain pasta into colander in the sink. Don’t be too worried about leaving a little water in the pasta. Return pasta to warm pasta pot and add 4 TBs olive oil, 1 TBs salt, several turns fresh ground pepper, and 1 tsp dried Italian Herbs. Stir to combine, leave in pot.
Preparing the pasta to serve.
Heat a large saute pan over medium heat. 2 TBs olive oil, onions, and a liberal pinch of salt. Heat, stirring frequently, until onions are translucent. (about 5 minutes). Squeeze garlic cloves from roasted head and dice rough. Add to Saute pan and stir into onions. Add sun dried tomatoes and saute until thoroughly incorporated.
When mixture becomes fragrant pour in the zucchini, squash, asparagus and tomatoes and any accumulated liquids. Stir to combine and continue stirring until mix is hot.
Slowly incorporate Pasta into combined vegetables adding reserved pasta water when fully combined. Add reserved oil from sun dried tomatoes.
Pour contents into prepared casserole and set in warming drawer until ready to serve.
To serve, shovel pasta onto small plates, garnish with Parmesan and minced parsley. Shovel into mouth.