Fresh Summer Grilling
August 8, 2012
Summer is in full swing and that means local stores and outdoor markets are chocked full of bright, flavor-filled vegetables.
And what better way to showcase these ultra-fresh ingredients than on the grill? A little bit of char, a nice helping of caramelization and a whole lot of extra sweetness results in such amazing dishes as grilled portobello tacos, grilled artichokes with garlic-chive aioli, steak and vegetable skewers with soy-ginger marinade, fire roasted tomatoes, or veggie and buffalo chicken pizza.
But one of my personal summer favorites is simple grilled-then-chilled vegetable pasta. My version starts with a base of roasted garlic, olive oil and grilled lemon. From there, I like to walk the produce aisle and choose 3-5 different vegetable to mix in – from sliced Portobello mushrooms to cherry tomatoes to asparagus to zucchini and beyond. The combinations are limitless.
To prepare, simply boil one pound of your favorite pasta according to directions, drain and cool. Meanwhile, prepare roasted garlic on the grill (PatioDaddioBBQ has a great how-to here), half one lemon and place cut side down over medium high heat and grill until caramelized and softened, and grill sliced vegetables of your choice until softened and slightly charred.
Remove ingredients from the grill and allow to cool completely. Remove garlic cloves from the head and mash in to a paste with the back of a large spoon. Mix garlic paste in to the pasta and add enough olive oil to coat evenly. Roughly chop vegetables into bite sized pieces (I prefer to keep cherry tomatoes whole as they provide a nice “pop” of flavor to the dish) and mix in to the pasta. Add juice from the grilled lemon taking care not to add the seeds, toss well and add salt, pepper and/or grated Parmesan to taste.
The pasta is now ready to serve, though 30 minutes in the fridge will make it even more cool and refreshing on a hot summer day.
- Clint Cantwell, Grilling.com Editor