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Fast & Easy Summer Pasta


Fast and easy pastas like this one is valued in my arsenal for when I need to quickly hammer out an all-in-one meal that takes no more than 20 minutes to make from prep to finish, will feed many, travel well and isn’t finicky about what temperature it’s served at since it’s tasty hot, cold or room temperature.  It’s an all-purpose recipe that serves many purposes and leaves high maintenance by the door.  This summery pasta pulls together the flavors of the season as well as combining every day staples like garlic and fresh and dried herbs.  Together, they create a simple yet satisfying dish.

Up first is an easy peasy crispy garlic and herb infused oil.  This lays the base flavor down.  I like to “bloom” dried herbs in warm oil as they can really stand up to the heat and lends an altogether different flavor than their fresh counterpart.  When the garlic gets oh so crispy, I throw in some rubbed {helps to bring out the oils} basil and red pepper flakes.  That tiny bit of heat pairs well with the greens we’ll throw in later.  From there, baby tomatoes go in to release their sweet juices.  It’s this layering effect that creates the “sauce” for this dish.  Today, I happened to have some antibiotic free asiago kale chicken sausage in the freezer but you could certainly replace it with anything from bacon to shrimp.  See?  Low maintenance.

Speaking of, no garlic?  Crisp up shallots instead.  No spinach?  Wilt in some kale or swiss chard.  No dried basil?  Try some herbs de provence.  The secret here is the first hit with the infused oil to its last hit with the pasta water drizzle and finish of fruity extra virgin olive oil.  I like to reserve regular olive oil for cooking when it doesn’t require a hot and fast heat and a good quality extra virgin for dressings and moments like this.  What results is a light and fresh pasta that isn’t drowning in sauce.  However, if it’s something with more substance you’re after, I recommend cream cheese or goat cheese right after the pasta water for a creamier texture.  The tang from both of these are beautiful against the salty sausage and sweet veggies.

Fast & Easy Summer Pasta
Prep time

Cook time

Total time


Serves: 2 servings

  • 1 c pasta
  • 1 tb regular olive oil
  • 2-4 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 ts dried/rubbed basil
  • 1 ts dried/rubbed red pepper flakes
  • 1-2 sliced chicken sausages
  • Half pint of grape tomatoes
  • 1 large handful of spinach
  • ¼-1/2 c reserved pasta water
  • 1 tb extra virgin olive oil
  • Chopped flat leaf parsley garnish
  • Salt and pepper to taste

  1. In a pot, cook pasta in salted water to al dente. Mine took about 8-9 minutes.
  2. In a pan, heat the olive oil with the garlic, basil and pepper flakes or medium. Move it around so it doesn’t burn.
  3. The sausage and tomatoes are ready to add when the garlic gets a bit golden and crispy and the oil becomes aromatic. Keep your eye on it so it doesn’t burn {which can happen quickly}.
  4. When the tomatoes begun to open up, turn off the heat and add in the spinach. Salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Stir in the pasta.
  6. Finish off with salt and pepper, the reserved pasta water, extra virgin olive oil and parsley.

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