August brings us the best of the summer growing season in Western New York. Our fabulous local farms provide an abundance of colorful fruits and vegetables - ready to go from field to table in minutes. Eating locally grown produce is beneficial for so many reasons.
- Locally grown food is full of flavor. When grown locally, the crops are picked at their peak of ripeness versus being harvested early in order to be shipped and distributed to your local retail store. Oftentimes, produce at local markets has been picked within 24 hours of your purchase.
- Eating local food is eating seasonally. Even though we wish strawberries were grown year round in New York State, the best time to eat them is when they can be purchased directly from a local grower. They are full of flavor and taste better than the ones available in the winter that have traveled thousands of miles and picked before they ripened naturally.
- Local food has more nutrients. Local food has a shorter time between harvest and your table, and it is less likely that the nutrient value has decreased. Food imported from far-away states and countries is often older, has traveled and sits in distribution centers before it gets to your store.
- Local food supports the local economy. The money that is spent with local farmers and growers all stays close to home and is reinvested with businesses and services in your community.
- Local food benefits the environment. By purchasing locally grown foods you help maintain farmland and green and/or open space in your community.
- Local foods promote a safer food supply. The more steps there are between you and your food’s source the more chances there are for contamination. Food grown in distant locations has the potential for food safety issues at harvesting, washing, shipping and distribution.
- Local growers can tell you how the food was grown. You can ask what practices they use to raise and harvest the crops. When you know where your food comes from and who grew it, you know a lot more about that food.
It's quick and easy, healthful and tasty, and can be adapted to suit your preferences.
PASTA ABBONDANZA ALLA CUCINA LINDA
Select your favorite vegetables - zucchini, plum tomatoes, yellow squash, red or yellow onion, garlic, red, yellow, orange, or green sweet peppers, eggplant, swiss chard, yellow or green string beans, carrots. Choose a colorful blend of those you love best.
Wash the vegetables and cut into pieces or slices.
(Start boiling a pan of salted water to cook the pasta while you prepare the vegetables.)
Add olive oil to a skillet or saucepan, and lightly sauté sliced onion and some minced garlic over a low flame, until the onions are translucent. Add the cut vegetables to the pan and sauté gently until the vegetables are crisp-tender. I like to use chopped plum tomatoes, orange and yellow sweet pepper strips, sliced zucchini, and chopped swiss chard - which I add to the sauté pan in that order.
Add salt and pepper to taste - and stir in some freshly chopped herbs - rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil, for example, complement this particular combination of vegetables.
Finish cooking the pasta, drain thoroughly, and serve on plates, drizzle with some olive oil. Top with the sautéed vegetable mix and sprinkle with fresh parmesan, romano, or asiago cheese.
Fresh and delightful - and ready in less than 30 minutes!
Delizioso! Buon appetito!!!!
Look for my cooking demo of this dish coming to you from the Erie County Fair on Tuesday, August 15th on The Daily Buzz 716 - sometime between 10AM and 11AM - when the show will be broadcast live from the Fair.