It's the first day of summer, and I can't think of a better time to share this summertime recipe for Vegetable Ragù sauce for pasta.
I'm translating the recipe for Ragù di verdure from an Italian website called "Butta la pasta." I was excited to find it because it's nearly identical to a recipe I made often when we lived in Italy, and it's a wonderful way to celebrate the amazing produce that's in season right now.
My English version of this recipe is not a word for word translation. I'm using my years of experience in both American and Italian kitchens to create an interpretation of this authentic Italian recipe written with directions that should seem comfortable and familiar to an American home cook.
The recipe as written in Italian calls for a kilogram of mixed, diced vegetables, such as red onion, zucchini, eggplant, and bell pepper, plus half a kilo of tomatoes. I used two peppers, two zucchini, a medium red onion, and a small eggplant. Half a kilo of tomatoes is about four Roma tomatoes.
If you want to invent your own vegetable blend, the volume measure is 8 cups of diced vegetables (not including the tomatoes)
Tomatoes when peeled, de-seeded, and diced, should be about three cups.
To peel tomatoes, drop them into boiling water for 30-45 seconds. If you're lucky you can slide the skins off with your fingers. You may still need to use a vegetable peeler to remove some of the peel, but this job is much easier after the tomatoes have been dunked in boiling water.
Scoop out all the seeds with a spoon. Then dice.
Sauté the vegetables (except tomatoes) in 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil for 7-9 minutes. Add the tomatoes, salt, and cayenne pepper, and sauté another 7-9 minutes.
When the tomatoes begin to melt into the sauce, add fresh basil. Stir basil into the sauce and immediately turn off the heat.
Now you have a beautiful vegetable ragù, perfect for a warm or cold pasta dish.
This is enough vegetable ragù for a one pound box of pasta. Here are my detailed instructions on how to cook pasta (including whole wheat pasta, as pictured here).
Summertime Vegetable Ragù
Servings: makes enough to dress a 1 pound box of pasta, serves 8
1 red onion, diced
2 bell peppers, diced (mix colors to make it pretty)
2 zucchini, diced
1 small eggplant, diced
4 Roma tomatoes, peeled, de-seeded, and diced
4 T extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 t fine sea salt
1/2 t cayenne
1/2 fresh basil, chopped
Heat the olive oil on medium high heat in a large sauté pan. Add onions, peppers, zucchini, and eggplant. Sauté uncovered for 7-9 minutes, until vegetables begin to soften. Add the tomatoes, salt, and cayenne, sauté another 7-9 minutes, until tomatoes just begin to melt. Add the fresh basil, stir quickly, then remove from heat.
Add to 1 pound of cooked pasta.
If making a cold pasta salad, be sure cool the ragù and to rinse the boiled pasta under cool water before combining.