• Karine Wlasichuk

The Last Harvest/Hooray: a 5 Minute Pasta Sauce With the Final Summer Herbs

'Ah! September, you are the doorway to the season that awakens my soul!'

I am so, incredibly grateful to live in a world where there is such a thing as autumn. The fog, pumpkin/squash harvest, crunchy leaves and foliage tones are breathtaking to me. The only thing I could possibly miss from this summer coming to an end is always the same: access to the abundance of fresh herbs in the garden. Oh and a new one from this year: pool season, because our daughter is simply a fish in the water and her splashing in a pool is a new, favourite scenery of mine. But we can get her swimming classes at a local pool. I still vote for the land of endless, everlasting, perpetual autumns. I want cold winds to smell of wood and whiskey (the latter would be great, perhaps less realistic?) and nights to be chilly and cozy. I also appreciate the anticipation for winter. I like the cold, I think you got that.

As I was gazing upon my garden (the tiny area with potted herbs piled up on my condo's balcony) I noticed that the basil plant had seen better days: they are all soon to stop blooming and freeze, leaving my pastas tasteless and pointless (okay maybe not to that extent, I have never known of a pasta bowl being utterly insignificant at any point in my life). It made me think I should ditch whatever I was going to cook that day (set aside for the next day, we are a zero-waste kitchen after all) and give these herbs their last Hooray. A simple orzo bowl, flavourful and comforting at once. May you honour your basil this weekend. Those plants deserve it!

You will need,

Basil, parsley, anything alive in your garden (a generous handful)

Olive oil (a generous amount)

Sea salt

Black pepper

Shallots (2, thinly chopped)

Wild tomatoes (any type, any colour! A generous handful- did I use the word generous today like at all!?)

Orzo (enough for 2 people, it can be any starch you have on hand: penne, fusili, rotini, etc.)

Balsamic vinegar (4-5 tbsp- I like to use an apple-infused one, however regular or even apple cider vinegar if all else fails does the trick!)

A few simple steps,

  1. Cook orzo in boiling salt water and drain. Run cold water over pasta and set aside with a dash of oil mixed in.

  2. In a medium-sized bowl, mix all chopped tomatoes, shallots, herbs, salt, pepper, vinegar of your choice and more olive oil. Mix thoroughly and let marinate for as long as you wish (I left them in for about 30 minutes before starting on the pasta).

  3. Add your tomato sauce back into your orzo pot and mix. Serve in individual bowls and top with Bocconcini or sun-dried tomatoes if desired.

  4. If the herbs are not-so-fresh: a great tip is to mix the herbs with about 50 grams of Grana Padano cheese or Parmesan, 1/4 cup of olive oil, salt, pepper, and all your herbs, chopped ever-so-thinly. This mix is forgiving to herbs that have seen better days- and still makes for a scrumptious dish!

And now, enjoy a calming crescendo of oil 'drizzles',

A fabulous fact: if you remove the shallots out of the portion (yup I spotted a piece in this very shot), it becomes a very toddler-friendly dish; filled with flavours, vitamins and, of course, starch. Ella Addie had hers with soy nuggets, it was a truly lovely day. This, paired with Montessori toys helping her develop her motor skills, can turn an orzo- tasting lunch into more practice time. I mean look at this precision. Future surgeon?