Everything Pasta combines fresh local produce and easy-to-add deli meats. Karen Schneider / For The Forecaster

Here in Maine, the growing season is much too fleeting. I’m here to remind you that’s it’s really easy to throw together a pan of pasta and a side dish that includes lots of garden goodness, whether you grow your own or run out to the nearest farmers market or neighborhood veggie stand.

We’re all waiting breathlessly for the peaches to ripen on my two daughters’ trees that are loaded with fruit this year.

For me, peaches bring back strong memories of my paternal grandmother. When I was growing up, there were summers when our family drove from upstate New York to North Dakota to visit my father’s parents. Grandma had come to the states from Austria and my German grandpa came from Odessa, Russia. They had settled on a ranch just outside Bismarck and had raised 11 children there.

I haven’t been to that part of the country in 50 years and both these fine people passed away long ago, but I still vividly recall my grandmother’s peach kuchen that she made every day. The cake was often served for mid-morning coffee break alongside juicy ripe cantaloupe wedges fresh-picked from the voluptuous garden they were so proud of.

Just about any fruit can be used in the kuchen, so choose your favorite, make a pot of coffee, and call up a friend to come over and help you eat it. Pour a little swirl of cream over the top of your serving just before you take a bite.

Everything Pasta

4 ounces salami, thinly sliced
4 ounces prosciutto, thinly sliced
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, sliced
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 small zucchini, cut into 1-inch pieces
12 ounces cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1/4 – 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
12 oz. thin spaghetti, broken in half
3 cups water
1/2 cup dry white wine
6 basil leaves, torn, plus more for garnish
4 oz. feta, cubed
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Freshly grated Parmesan for serving

Slice salami and prosciutto into strips. Sauté over medium heat in a large dry skillet for 3-5 minutes until crisp. Remove to a paper-towel lined plate.
Heat olive oil in the pan and sauté onion, garlic, and zucchini for 3 minutes. Add all remaining ingredients. Turn heat to medium-high. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes or until the pasta is al dente and the liquid is absorbed. Add a bit more water if necessary. Stir in salami, prosciutto, and feta. Garnish with basil and pass around the pepper mill and Parm! Yield: 4-6 servings

Summer Green Beans

1 1/2 lbs. fresh green beans
1/3 cup scallions, chopped
1/3 cup fresh basil, torn
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1/3 cup toasted pine nuts or chopped walnuts

In a large pan over high heat, bring 4 quarts water to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook beans for 5 minutes, until tender-crisp. Drain and immediately plunge into ice water. Drain again.
In a large bowl, combine beans with scallions and basil. Just before serving, toss with cheese and nuts. Serve warm or chilled. Yield: 4-6 servings

Vinaigrette

1/3 cup olive oil
3 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. honey
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1 whole clove garlic, scored
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a jar and shake to mix. Yield: 4 servings

Peach Kuchen

Crust
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter
2 tbsps. milk
1 egg, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl. Cut in butter with a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add milk and egg and stir with a fork just until moistened. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead dough until it holds together.

Roll dough into a 12-inch circle. Transfer to a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate. Trim and crimp edges.

Peach Filling

1 tbsp. flour
1 tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
2 cups fresh peach slices

Combine dry ingredients and spoon over crust. Add peaches, creating a design if you desire.

Custard

3/4 cup sugar
2 tbsps. flour
3/4 cup milk
3 eggs, lightly beaten

Combine dry ingredients in a bowl. Mix in milk and eggs. Pour custard over peach mixture.

Streusel topping

1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
3 tbsps. butter

In a small bowl, combine dry ingredients. Using a pastry blender, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Sprinkle topping over custard layer. Bake for 1 hour or until center is set. Cool completely on a wire rack. Yield: 10 servings.


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