Alexandra Stafford,
A Super Summery Pasta is nutritious and easy to prepare.

Tomatoes and basil are staples in our diets. Because of this, we are planting several different varieties and more than a dozen plants each in our garden this year. We will bottle the extra tomatoes and freeze any excess basil so we can enjoy them during winter months. But before any of that happens, our goal will be to devour as much fresh produce as we can.

While few foods are as delicious as a warm tomato fresh from the vine, there is one recipe that has become a family favorite. This meal helps put a garden to use and is vegetarian-friendly. Also, it is an easy meal that takes minutes to create — perfect for those busy summer days.

A Super Summery Pasta

Serves: 4-6

1 pound pasta (orecchietta or shell works best)

Kosher salt

4 tablespoons olive oil

20 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved

6 tablespoons basil pesto

1 pound mozzarella in water, drained and chopped in small pieces

Plenty of fresh basil (if leaves are small, use whole; otherwise chiffonade them)

Shaving of Parmigiano Reggiano

Freshly cracked black pepper

Cook pasta al dente according to package directions. Drain pasta and do not rinse.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add cherry tomatoes and cook for 30 seconds. Add pasta and pesto. Cook 1 minute, stirring to coat pasta with pesto. Add the mozzarella. Stir to incorporate. Add the fresh basil and remove from heat.

Divide pasta among bowls and sprinkle with parmigiano and black pepper. Serve warm or at room temperature.

— adapted from Alexandra’s Kitchen

Elizabeth Reid has bachelor's degrees in economics and history from Utah State University. She has worked in retail, medical billing, catering, education, business and various other fields. She prefers her current job of wife and mother.