Garlic planted in gardens in October is ready to be harvested. The fresh garlic available in farmers markets is stupendous, so take advantage of its sweetness now instead of storing it. Roasting garlic makes it even sweeter.
The vegetables here are pan-grilled, which is easier than doing them on the outdoor grill. The sauce in this recipe is similar to an aioli, but not as much work.
Servings: 4 generous servings
- For the sauce
- 2 large heads garlic
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- Juice from 1 lemon (3 tablespoons)
- Freshly ground black pepper
- For the pasta
- 3 ears fresh white corn
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium Vidalia onion, chopped (1 cup)
- 2 medium zucchini (1 pound total)
- 1 cup fresh lima beans (may substitute frozen baby limas)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 cup loosely packed basil leaves, torn, plus a few whole leaves for garnish
- 1/4 cup loosely packed mint leaves, chopped
- 12 to 16 ounces dried fettuccine rigate (ridged pasta holds the sauce better)
For the sauce: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Trim the tops of the heads of garlic so that the cloves are partially exposed. Drizzle with a little oil and wrap each one in a double layer of aluminum foil. Seal tightly and roast for 45 minutes, then unwrap and let cool. Squeeze the cloves into a mini food processor, then add 3 tablespoons of the oil and the lemon juice. Puree to form a smooth sauce; the yield should be a scant 1/2 cup. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
For the pasta: While the garlic is in the oven, heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Brush the ears of corn with a little of the oil. Reduce the heat to medium and add the ears of corn. Cover and cook, turning them often, so the kernels brown (but do not become blackened); this should take about 6 minutes total. Transfer the ears to a cutting board and let cool, then cut off the kernels to yield at least 1 1/2 cups.
Return the empty skillet to medium-high heat.
Cut each zucchini lengthwise into 4 slices about 1/4 inch thick. Brush both sides of each slice with a little of the oil and place in the skillet. Cook for 1 or 2 minutes on each side until golden, then transfer to a cutting board. Cut each slice into 1-inch squares.
Add the remaining oil (from the two tablespoons) to the skillet; when it's hot, add the onion and cook for 5 minutes, stirring, until it is translucent. Add the lima beans and cook for about 3 minutes, stirring, then add the 1/2 teaspoon of salt, pepper to taste, oregano, corn, zucchini, basil and mint. Transfer to a large serving bowl.
For the pasta: Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions. Drain and add to the bowl of vegetables, reserving a cup of the cooking water.
When ready to serve, add the sauce to the vegetables and pasta. If the mixture seems dry, add some of the reserved pasta cooking water.
Divide among individual plates; garnish with basil leaves. Serve warm.
From Cynthia A. Brown, assistant director at Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria.
Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.
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