3 pasta recipes to close out the summer

By: Gary Gilligan
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Well it seems like we are in a time warp, where has this month gone? Today Disneyworld is decorated for Halloween and their first Halloween party is Friday. Placer High has their first game on Friday, but I won’t give up on summer yet. Growing up, summer was not over until Labor Day and Jerry Lewis telethon sang their last song as they set another record. This week’s recipes are some summer pasta dishes that might take you outside the box and jar of sauce.  Follow me on Facebook Grazing with Gary.

Orange Pasta


8 ounces short-cut pasta like rigatoni, penne, etc.

3 tablespoons olive oil

4 ounces pancetta or bacon (optional, the dish is otherwise vegetarian if you leave this out)

1 medium onion, thinly sliced

3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

1 cup orange juice

½ cup tomato paste

salt and pepper, to taste

⅓ cup half-and-half or heavy cream

¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

zest of ½ an orange

½ cup basil, julienned


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the pasta. While that's happening, heat a skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil and pancetta/bacon (if using). Allow the pancetta to crisp up, and then add the onion and garlic. Cook for about 10 minutes, or until caramelized.

Stir in the orange juice and tomato paste, and bring to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and add the half and half. Scoop in your cooked pasta (reserve the cooking liquid), and Parmesan cheese. Give everything a good stir. Add in a little more of the starchy pasta water if the sauce needs thinning out.

Stir in the orange zest and basil. Give the pasta a taste and adjust the seasoning if needed. Serve!

Stir Fry Pasta


8 ounces dried spaghetti


1 tablespoon oil

12 ounces ground beef

1 medium onion, finely diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 teaspoons Shaoxing wine or dry sherry

2 cups chicken stock

3 tablespoons oyster sauce

2 tablespoons light soy sauce

½ teaspoon dark soy sauce

1 teaspoon sesame oil

⅛ teaspoon white pepper

1 cup frozen peas

2 tablespoons cornstarch, mixed with 2 tablespoons water


Bring a pot of salted water to a boil for the spaghetti. Cook the spaghetti according to the package instructions, undercooking it by about a minute (it will finish cooking in the sauce). While the pasta is cooking, start the sauce.

Heat a wok over high heat and add a tablespoon of oil. Add the ground beef and cook until slightly brown, breaking up any large chunks of beef. Add the onion, garlic, and Shaoxing wine, and turn the heat down to medium. Cook until the onion is transparent, and then add the chicken stock.

Bring to a boil and lower the heat to a simmer. Stir in the oyster and soy sauces, sesame oil, and white pepper. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the cover, add the peas, and stir for one minute.

Stir up the cornstarch slurry (since the starch will separate from the water when left to sit), and drizzle the slurry into the sauce while stirring constantly. The sauce should thicken until it coats a spoon.

Drain the pasta, and add it directly to the wok. Toss until the pasta is coated in sauce. Feel free to add some of the pasta cooking liquid if the sauce is too thick, and add more cornstarch slurry if the sauce is too thin. Serve!

Roasted Ratatouille Pasta Recipe


2 cups diced zucchini

2 cups diced eggplant

1 onion, diced

3 cups cherry tomatoes

¼ cup olive oil

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 medium onion, minced

5 sun dried tomatoes, minced

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 teaspoon dried Italian herb seasoning

¼ teaspoon dried thyme

¼ teaspoon dried basil

1 ¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon fresh ground pepper

8 ounces spaghetti

fresh basil, julienned,

fresh parsley, chopped

Parmesan cheese


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, combined diced zucchini, eggplant, onion, and cherry tomatoes.

In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, minced garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, tomato paste, and 1 tablespoon minced onion. Add the herbs, salt, and pepper. Add this mixture to the vegetables and toss until everything is well coated.

Line a sheet pan with non-stick foil or parchment paper. Spread the vegetables evenly on the pan. Place in the oven and roast for 45 minutes, stirring the vegetables once halfway through baking.

Cook your spaghetti until al dente and toss with the roasted ratatouille, fresh basil, parsley, and parmesan. Serve.