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Food Bytes PG Cookbook The Food Chain
Kitchen Mailbox Countdown to Dinner Dining
Farm Fresh: Pasta dish brims with fresh garden vegetables

Thursday, July 08, 1999

Karen Mahoney of Jeannette is becoming a Cook's Corner regular. She's devised several quick 'n' easy recipes for Countdown to Dinner, and now she's supplied us with a Farm Fresh recipe that's a genuine keeper.

It's called Pasta Pastor Joe and it uses a gardenful of fresh produce with a handful of herbs tossed in for flavor. (The recipe's provenance, according to Mahoney, began with a chance meeting in York, Pa., with a visiting priest from Puerto Rico, hence the name. Mahoney ran with the recipe and added her favorite vegetables.)

Pasta Pastor Joe is a Farm Fresh dream. The vegetables give up their juices to form the sauce. No jarred or canned sodium-laden sauces needed. You can cook the liquid down as the recipe calls for, or succumb to hunger and just dig in when the vegetables are heated through, as we did. Throw on a handful of grated cheese (we used a combination of Romano and Parmesan) and tinker with the herbs if you like. -- Tested by Betsy Kline

Pasta Pastor Joe

1 tablespoon olive oil
4 cloves garlic, sliced
1/2 pound chicken breasts, skinned and boneless
7 ripe tomatoes, cut in quarters (we used plum tomatoes and chopped them smaller)
1 large green pepper, sliced
1 large yellow pepper, sliced
1 large onion or 12 green onions, sliced
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 pound pasta of your choice (we used seashells, but penne or linguine would do nicely)
1 small zucchini, sliced (optional)
Parmesan or Romano cheese, to taste

Boil water for pasta. Cook pasta according to package directions.

Meanwhile, cut vegetables and set aside in bowl.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven. Add garlic and chicken breast. Remove chicken when nicely browned on both sides. Add vegetables to skillet and reduce heat.

Cut chicken into slices and add to vegetables. Cook sauce until most of the liquid is absorbed (about 30 minutes). In last 5 minutes of cooking, add the cilantro. (Mahoney says amount of cilantro can be adjusted to taste. If fresh is not available, use less of the dried.)

Drain pasta and top with sauce. Top with the cheese. Makes 4 to 6 generous servings.

If you have a fruit or vegetable that you would like to see featured between now and Sept. 30, please call food editor Suzanne Martinson at 412-263-1760 or e-mail us at aburnett@post-gazette.com . orbkline@post-gazette.com. We're also looking for easy-to-make, quick recipes that highlight the fabulous flavors of fresh produce. Send to Farm Fresh, PG Food, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh, PA 15222.

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