I Eat La.: Turn Summer Vegetables Into Cold Soup, One-Dish Pasta, Then Relax | Entertainment/Life

Even though it’s not officially summer, those scorching days are here, and so is an abundance of fresh vegetables.

I’m all about efficiency in my kitchen these days so I can maximize relaxation time when everything slows down. I hope you find these recipes equally useful for getting farm-fresh vegetables on your table.

My youngest daughter named this soup recipe “Vichy-squash” after I described her as “vichyssoise but with squash”. Based on a traditional Vichyssoise recipe, this one replaces the typical potatoes with summer squash. It would be equally delicious made with a mixture of zucchini and yellow squash if that’s what you have on hand.

Tasted cold, this soup is a great snack after working in the yard or with a salad for a light lunch.

I love a hearty one-dish pasta recipe. This Italian Sausage Pasta hits the mark with protein, vitamins K and C, and a reasonable amount of starch (none if made with squash noodles) in one dish. It is a great efficiency for slow summer evenings. This recipe only has a few steps or can be made ahead, so I don’t have to go far from the pool to cook dinner.

Wandering around the Farmers Market and making the most of the produce I find there always makes me feel accomplished. I know that I provide the most nutrients to my little family. That feeling plus recipes that refresh me or fill me up make the coming summer a healthier and happier season.

Vichy cold pumpkin soup

Makes 8 servings (1 cup). The recipe is from Teresa B. Day.

½ cup (1 stick) butter

2 garlic cloves, minced

1½ pounds large leeks, coarsely chopped

3 cups low-salt chicken or vegetable broth

3 pounds yellow squash, cut into 1-inch rounds

2 cups heavy cream

1 tablespoon parsley, chopped

2 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped

1 teaspoon of salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

1. Melt the butter in a heavy pot over medium heat. Add garlic and leeks. Sauté until tender.

2. Pour in the broth and bring to a boil.

3. Add the squash and bring back to a boil.

4. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until squash is tender, about 20 minutes. Cool 30 minutes.

5. Puree the soup in a food processor or blender, working in batches if necessary. Strain the soup through a colander or sieve.

6. Stir in heavy cream, parsley and chives. Season with salt and pepper.

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7. Cover and refrigerate until cold, about 4 hours.

8. Ladle the soup into mugs and serve garnished with parsley or chopped chives.

Creamy Italian Sausage Pasta

Makes 8-12 servings. The recipe is from Teresa B. Day.

2 pounds ground Italian sausage, mild or hot to taste

2 tablespoons of butter

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 small onion

3 garlic cloves, minced

8 ounces fresh spinach, about 7-8 cups

1 cup sun-dried tomatoes, cut into strips

2 cups heavy cream

5 ounces of grated parmesan

1 teaspoon of salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

2 teaspoons Italian seasoning

16 ounces pasta, cooked al dente

1. In a heavy skillet or large pot, brown the Italian sausage over medium-high heat until cooked through. Drain and reserve.

2. In the same saucepan, melt the butter and olive oil. Over medium heat, sauté the onion and garlic until the onion is clear and tender.

3. Reduce heat to medium-low, add spinach and stir until softened. Stir in the sun-dried tomatoes.

4. Return sausage to pan and stir to combine.

5. Reduce heat to low, stir in cream and parmesan.

6. Season with salt, pepper and Italian seasoning.

7. Stir in cooked pasta until combined, then serve.