How to Pair Local Fresh Ingredients with Spaghetti for a Fantastic Meal
Local, fresh ingredients are available year-round — you don't have to wait for summer. Pasta is a quick go-to meal that helps you make the most of seasonal veggies, and it's an economical menu choice, too. Pairing the freshest ingredients of the season with the convenience of pasta is a great way to maximize your budget and feel good about feeding your family something fresh and healthy. Here are some ideas for each season on pairing local ingredients with spaghetti to serve up a delicious, quick, and easy meal.
As the days become longer, you might long for garden-fresh flavor. Asparagus is a spring vegetable that's easy to find at your local Food Lion. Sauté a pound of chopped asparagus with a little olive oil. While it's softening up, whisk up four eggs and scramble them. Mix the asparagus and scrambled eggs with hot pasta, adding salt and pepper to taste. Top with a dollop of ricotta cheese. If you prefer a protein, sauté up diced chicken breast, chopped asparagus, and mushrooms. When fully cooked, mix this with hot spaghetti and about a half-cup of bottled Italian dressing. Top with chopped sun-dried tomatoes and a sprinkle of fresh Parmesan.
In summer, there are so many fresh vegetables available. This makes creating dinner even easier. pasta pairs well with lighter sauces that really showcase veggies. The beauty of it is that you can chop up combinations without following any particular recipe. Dice up a few types of summer sweet tomatoes. Sauté them with a few tablespoons of olive oil and a clove of minced garlic over low heat so the garlic becomes sweet and doesn’t burn. Deglaze the pan with a cup of chicken or veggie stock, and let it simmer for about 10 minutes. Toss the mixture with your favorite shape of pasta noodles. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan and chopped fresh basil for a light, delicious dish. Mix it up by adding diced zucchini and onions.
During fall, there are actually still many vegetables that are in season. Before making the heavy comfort-food sauces of winter, pair pasta with unexpected veggies that are bountiful in autumn. Roast up brussels sprouts in the oven with olive oil and garlic until they're caramelized and tender. Brown a pound of ground sausage in a pan and drain the fat. Combine the two and pour over hot spaghetti. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt and black pepper. Add your favorite grated cheese and enjoy this easy weeknight winner.
For another hearty yet fresh option, roast chunks of butternut squash in the oven. When they're fork-tender, add them to a hot frying pan and gently sauté them with a few tablespoons of browned butter. Serve this blend over pasta tossed with olive oil, salt, pepper, and chopped sage leaves. Add sliced roast pork for some delicious protein.
During winter, you might think of the traditional spaghetti and meatballs. But you don't have to stick with tradition. Onions are always available even in the cold, winter months, and they'll add some zing during the chillier months. Slice up two large onions. Sauté the onions over low heat with a quarter-cup butter until they're tender and browned. Add two to three large cloves of diced garlic and a pinch of red pepper. It'll take about 30 minutes to fully caramelize the onions. Once brown and caramelized, deglaze the pan with a half-cup of beef or chicken broth. Serve over pasta and top with grated Parmesan and chopped bacon for a light, carbonara-style dish.
Using local, fresh ingredients from Food Lion means taste is at its peak, making any dish that much better. Check out Food Lion's Fresh Ideas Blog for the best recipes, and then start making your list.