photo-19 This summer, I’ve been trying to come up with easy weeknight dinners that are easy and light. Though I usually feel like we always need a protein rich meal, (read: some sort of meat as the focus), with all the amazing fruits and vegetables in season, I realized that maybe it’s time to give it a rest. Maybe #meatlessmondays are not such a bad idea… especially since Monday comes right after what I call Vitamin Sunday (i.e. Farmer’s Market day).

This past weekend, Peter and I had dinner at a restaurant in LA that we love.  Now, let me be clear– it’s been pretty damn near impossible to feel as moved and amazed by food (pasta, in particular) since getting back from our honeymoon to Italy and Greece. But I have to say, we were pleasantly surprised on Saturday night. We ordered the Rigatoni Arcobaleno: Homemade Rigatoni with fresh burrata, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, light tomato sauce and extra virgin olive oil. Now this super simple pasta dish doesn’t sound like much but it was delicious! I think the fact that Peter loved a dish that didn’t have some sort of sausage or Chipotle component, made it all the more enjoyable for me too…. and made me think: I could make this too. I think….

So… for our Monday night meal, I decided to create my own version… and it turned out wonderful and it couldn’t have been easier.

Here’s what I did:

Sliced 8 Zucchinis in half and sliced again in thin wedges. Tossed in a bowl with some olive oil, salt, cracked black pepper, and a little garlic powder. Spread out on a baking sheet and roasted them (tossing a few times) at 375 for about 45 min to an hour.

photo 1-3 Package of fresh San Marzano tomatoes.  Slice each in half. I also had a handful of cherry tomatoes left over from another meal. Sliced everything in half, tossed in a bowl with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread on another baking sheet and roasted them (tossed once) at 375 for about 25 min until they looked cooked.

photo 2-3 Next, Boiled a bag of pasta! (How’s that for a serious cook). FYI, I opted for GF Brown Rice Penne. My dudes don’t know the diff!

Once everything was out of the oven, I let the veggies cool off and drained the pasta. I added 1 1/2 TBS of salted butter to the pasta as it was sticking together and the pasta we had at the restaurant and a creaminess that I think had to be a little butter. (And let’s be honest, what’s so wrong about a little butter with noodles… or anything for that matter).

Next I added about 3/4 of a 14 oz can of plain tomato sauce to the pasta to coat it slightly. The flavor of the plain sauce with the buttery noodles could have been enough to be honest– but I kept going 😉 I chopped up about a 1/2 cup or so of fresh basil and sprinkled it over the cooked pasta. **Note: Next time, I might actually simmer the sauce and basil in a small pot to get it piping hot and let the basil settle in, before I dump it over the pasta. I think it would coat the pasta better and when I pour in the cheese (see delicious next step below), it would get super soft and gooey.**

photo 1-2 I sliced store bought mini bocconcini (mozzarella  balls, if you will), into quarters, and poured them into the pasta. They didn’t melt completely, but they definitely got soft.

photo 3-2 Finally, I added the roasted veggies and tossed it all together!

photo 2-2 Peter and Jonah LOVED this meal. Like, “can I have this for lunch/ take this to work” love. They both snacked on the roasted zucchini that was sitting on the counter too– which I made a mental note of for future snack needs/moments.

While this wasn’t quite the same as our meal at Terroni, or like I said, any of the amazing meals we had on our trip, it was a definitely healthy, weeknight meal success and one that I want to make again soon!

So tell me, what are your go-to meals for the Summer? Share your recipes or links to PINS here!

FILED UNDER: Food & Entertaining

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