3 Perfect Summer Pasta Dinners -- Filling and Quick, These Won't Overheat Your Kitchen

Ravioli with tomatoes and butter.By David Latt

Summer is no time to spend hours heating up your kitchen for a three-course hot dinner, but you don't want to feed your family take-out or cold sandwiches either.

The perfect compromise is a summer pasta dish.

Related: Looking for a meaty pasta dish? Add some pork.

Here are three flavorful dishes that make good use of lots of healthy summer produce to accompany pasta -- which you can boil up quickly without taxing your home's air conditioning.

Serve these with a tossed salad and you've got dinner made in the shade.

1. Roasted Vegetable Pasta Primavera

The recipe works well with home-prepared grilled or roasted vegetables or ones you bring home in a doggie bag.

Serves 4

Ingredients

2 cups finely chopped roasted vegetables, including carrots, broccoli, zucchini, cauliflower or eggplant

½ cup roughly chopped, fresh tomatoes

¼ cup Italian parsley, leaves only, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, peeled, finely chopped

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons sweet butter

1 pound pasta

½ tablespoon kosher salt

1 cup pasta water

Sea salt and pepper

½ cup freshly grated Parmesan or Romano cheese

Directions

1. Bring a gallon of water with the kosher salt to a boil. Add the pasta. Stir well at the beginning and every couple of minutes to prevent the pasta from sticking together. Place a heatproof cup in the sink. When al dente, strain the pasta, capturing a cup of the salted pasta water.

2. Return the cooked pasta to the pot, drizzle with olive oil, add 1 tablespoon sweet butter and season with sea salt and pepper. Stir well. Keep the pasta warm by placing a sheet of aluminum foil over the top but do not seal.

3. In a large frying or chef's pan, heat the olive oil and remaining tablespoon of sweet butter. Sauté the garlic and parsley until lightly browned. Add the roasted vegetables, chopped tomatoes and ½ cup pasta water. Simmer on a medium flame until the liquid is reduced by half. About 5 minutes.

4. Taste and adjust the seasoning with sea salt and pepper.

Add cooked pasta. Toss well to coat. If you need more sauce, add the remaining ½ cup of pasta water and a pat of sweet butter.

Serve with freshly grated cheese

Related: Looking for a simple tomato sauce that will still dazzle? Try this.

2. Fresh Ravioli With Tomatoes and Butter

Serves 4

Ingredients

2 packages fresh ravioli with your choice of fillings, from the refrigerated section of the grocery store

1 large, ripe tomato, washed, stem removed, roughly chopped

2 garlic cloves, peeled, finely chopped

¼ cup Italian parsley, leaves only, roughly chopped

2 tablespoons sweet butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1 cup pasta water

½ cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese

Sea salt and pepper to taste

Directions

1. Heat to boiling, 5-6 quarts of water salted with kosher salt. Drop in the fresh pasta, being careful to separate the ravioli. Cook 4-5 minutes until al dente. When you drain the ravioli, capture 1 cup of the salted pasta water. Set both aside.

2. Heat the butter and olive oil in a sauté pan, add the cooked ravioli, tomato pieces and garlic. Season with sea salt and pepper. Toss and stir 5 minutes.

3. Raise the heat, add ¼ cup pasta water. Simmer and reduce the sauce.

4. Serve on a plate, topped with a sprinkle of Italian parsley and grated cheese.

Related: Get adventurous with easy, elegant gnocchi.

3. Pasta with Corn and Garlic

For the pasta, I like gnocchi or any other style that catches the corn kernels and sauce.

Makes four servings.

Ingredients

2 ears corn, husks and silks removed, washed

5 garlic cloves, skins on

½ cup Italian parsley, leaves only, washed, finely chopped

2 tablespoons sweet butter

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon kosher salt, for the pasta water

1 box or pound pasta

1 cup pasta water

Sea salt and black pepper to taste

¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan or Romano cheese

Directions

1. Preheat the grill to high or the oven to 350 F. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil over the ears of corn and garlic cloves to coat. Season with sea salt and pepper. Grill or oven roast until lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Set aside to cool, then remove the kernels and discard the cobs.

2. Cut off the garlic skins, discard and set aside the softened garlic.

3. Add the kosher salt to a large pot of boiling water. Pour in the pasta and stir well to prevent sticking. Stir every five minutes until al dente, about 10 minutes total. Drain but reserve 1 cup of the pasta water.

4. Return the pasta to the still hot pot. Drizzle with olive oil, add 1 tablespoon sweet butter, season with sea salt and black pepper, stir well, and lightly cover with a sheet of aluminum foil.

5. In a chef's or large pan, melt together the remaining tablespoon of sweet butter with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Finely chop the softened garlic and add to the butter-olive oil mixture. Heat over a medium flame. Add ½ cup pasta water. Stir well to combine. Simmer 5 minutes.

6. Add the corn kernels and cooked pasta to the sauce. Toss to coat. Taste and adjust seasoning with sea salt and pepper. Add the remaining pasta water if more sauce is needed. Heat through. Sprinkle with Italian parsley. Serve with freshly grated Parmesan or Romano cheese and a green salad or cooked vegetable like steamed spinach or broccoli.

Zester Daily contributor David Latt is a television writer/producer with a passion for food. His new book, "10 Delicious Holiday Recipes" is available from Amazon. In addition to writing about food for his own site, Men Who Like to Cook, he has contributed to Mark Bittman's New York Times food blog, Bitten, One for the Table and Traveling Mom. He continues to develop for television but recently has taken his passion for food on the road and is now a contributor to Peter Greenberg's travel site and the New York Daily News online.

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