The summer garden season is rapidly approaching, and with it crudite's and the need for a recipe such as the following romesco sauce.

And, while pasta doesn't grow in gardens, the pasta salad -- with a balsamic vinaigrette, capers, julienne carrots and parsley -- is a good summer dish. ROMESCO SAUCE (Makes 1 1/2 cups)

Try with raw vegetables like cauliflower, snow peas, endive or jicama.

3 red bell peppers

1/4 cup blanched and toasted almonds

1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons paprika

2 tablespoons capers

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 cup whole-wheat bread crumbs

Roast bell peppers over a gas flame or under a broiler, turning as needed, until they are charred. Pop them into a paper bag for a few minutes, then peel under running water to remove skin. Remove seeds and stem. Place almonds in a blender and blend until coarsely ground. Add 1 tablespoon oil, the bell peppers, paprika, capers, and black pepper. Blend until well mixed, then add bread crumbs and as additional oil as needed to make a thick, heavy mixture.


1/2 pound durum whole-wheat pasta (elbow macaroni, spirals, or shells)

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 to 2 teaspoons dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon salt

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

1/4 pound fresh asparagus

1/4 pound carrots

2 tablespoons capers

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Cook pasta in boiling, salted water until barely tender, then drain and stir in 1 tablespoon oil to prevent its sticking together. Set aside to cool.

Combine remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil with vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper.

Slice asparagus lengthwise in quarters, then across in 1 1/2-inch pieces. Cut carrots in similar-sized julienne pieces. Steam or blanch for just a couple of minutes, then combine with pasta, dressing, capers, and parsley. Adjust flavor with more vinegar or salt and serve at room temperature.