August Nights-Grilled Veg Goat Cheese Pasta

–First Night Home–Dinner on the Deck

There is nothing (well…) like sleeping in your own bed or cooking in your own kitchen or raiding your own wine cellar or you fill in your blank. After a three-day trip home from Minnesota with stops in the Badlands and at Mt. Rushmore and two nights in motels right out of “It Happened One Night” (1934-Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert), we are incredibly glad to again be on terra firma– or bedrock, as we call our part of the mesa in western Colorado Springs.
Minnesota was a summer full of infinite possibilies (and much-loved people,) but it also held things like bunkbeds in the apartment, an air conditioner that was either on or off with nothing in betweeen, no saucepans that stayed on the stove, a 10 inch television and so on. You get the picture. Spoiled, spoiled, spoiled. But you can just strehhhhhhhtch at home. You can plop down on the couch you picked out yourself to fit your tired butt on the longest of days. You have a remote you know how to operate. The refrigerator does not fill up with water and leak onto the kithchen floor. But, mostly, mostly, your puppy gets to be with you 24-7 and you again have your own study, albeit full of all of the books, music and school supplies from the apartment. Read that: I can’t walk in my study, but I can see out my windows through the leafy trees to Austin Bluffs and north up the long valley to a black forest. Home.

————————————————–The Badlands —-

………………….Mt. Rushmore and me (and everyone else)..

Just for grins and giggles, I include a few snaps of the trip and, hopefully, a video of Gabby (at end) traveling through the Badlands with her head out the window. (How good to be a dog.)

———————————–Gabby doin’ the dog thing ——–

Coming home also means a trip to the grocery store (and that would be one where you know where everything is) and some thoughts about using this time as a good reason to cook something healthy and/or different. Because it’s August, we have the chance of some decent produce; it sounded like a good time to experiment with a veg dinner and here’s what came up (and yes, I’m on the goat cheese kick; bear with me):

Everything was in incredible bloom–and huge along the way. This was at a rest area! Note tomatoes in upper right corner.

Grilled Veg Goat Cheese Pasta
serves 4 as a main dish; 6 as a side
1 # fresh linguine pasta
1 medium zucchini, trimmed and cut lengthwise into l/3″ slices
1 medium yellow squash, same as zucchini
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and cut on the diagonal into 2″ pieces
3 1″ carrots, peeled and cut like zucchini
1 medium eggplant, trimmed, peeled and sliced into 1/2″ rounds
4 T olive oil, divided (plus a little extra for drizzling at end)
1 lemon, cut in half
1/2 t Kosher salt
1/4 t Freshly-grated pepper
3T red onion, minced
4 T chopped fresh parsley, divided
1 t butter
1/4 c white wine (can sub chicken broth)
4-6 oz goat’s cheese, divided ( save 3-4T for garnish)
Fill a 10qt stockpot 3/4 full of salted water and set to boil on high for pasta. Take carrots and microwave on high for 2 minutes in a covered dish with a couple of tablespoons of water. Drain. Set aside.
Place zucchini, yellow squash, asparagus, eggplant and partially cooked carrots in a 4 qt glass container and drizzle with 2T olive oil and the juice from half of the lemon. Salt and pepper well. Grill until tender. Slice larger pieces closer to bite-sized ones and cover loosely to keep warm.
While veg are grilling, start the sauce. In a small sauce pan, place 2T olive oil and saute minced onions and chopped parsley. Add wine wine and butter. Squeeze a tablespoon or so of lemon juice into the sauce and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Cook pasta in boiling water according to package directions. Drain well and put back in pot. Cut or tear the goat’s cheese (all but 3 T or so) into 1/2″ pieces and stir into pasta; let sit a minute or so to melt a bit. Add grilled vegetables and sauce and stir gently, but thoroughly. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.
Pour pasta into large bowl or onto platter. Garnish with rest of goat’s cheese and parsley. Drizzle with just a tiny bit of olive oil. Grate some pepper over top. Serve warm or at room temperature.
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Starters: A tiny bowl of chunked cantalope–maybe a bit of mint
Wine: Pink, definitely. Choose a nice dry rose. It’s summer!
Dessert: Gelato
Need a bigger meal: Grill a skewer of shrimp for each person and place atop the pasta
Sing a new song while you enjoy Gab on the road….. Alyce
Several people I love have recently lost very special pets…Here’s to Fiona, Russert, Ski, Jack and Ralph, great buddies all. Miss you always.

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