A Recipe for Success at the Farmers’ Market: Summer Pesto Pasta and Steak Recipe

Do you ever walk around a farmer’s market in Utah and admire all of the hard work that went into growing and harvesting fresh fruits and vegetables? For example, consider the effort that goes into zucchini: Planting the seeds in nutrient-rich soil, watering, waiting for the flowering process, tending to the plants, protecting them from pests and wild animals and (finally!) harvesting after more than 50 days. And then you think, “What can I make from this beautiful harvest?” (Other than letting those beautiful zucchini wilt on your countertop, that is.) Yes, it can be a little intimidating. So here’s some help. Everything for this Loaded Vegetable Pesto Pasta with Steak can be found at your local Utah Farmer’s Market. When you pick out your ingredients be sure to say “hello” and thank these passionate farmers.

Loaded Vegetable Pesto Pasta with Steak 

2 tablespoons canola oil

2 small zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch slices lengthwise

2 small yellow squash, cut into 1/4-inch slices lengthwise

1 small white or yellow onion, cut into 1/2-inch slices 

2 medium bell peppers, any color, cored, seeds removed, quartered

2 corn on the cob, husk and silks removed 

1/2 lb. asparagus, trimmed

1 lb. flat iron or sirloin steaks

12 oz. penne pasta

1/2 cup parmesan or asiago cheese, grated

1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes

Salt and Pepper, to taste

Utah Farmer's Market


1 large cilantro or basil bunch (about 4 loose cups)

2 garlic cloves

1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated or shredded

1/4 cup pine nuts, almonds, walnuts or pecans, toasted

1/3 cup olive oil

Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Preheat the grill to medium heat.

2. Brush oil onto the first six ingredients (through asparagus) on all sides. Season with salt and pepper. Grill veggies (except asparagus) for 6-8 minutes or until slightly softened, turning once. (Note: Rotate corn, when kernels deepen in color- usually 2-3 minutes.) Add asparagus to grill for 2-3 minutes. Place vegetables on a platter. Once cool enough to handle, chop vegetables and remove corn kernels from the cob. 

3. Season steaks with salt and pepper. On a greased grill over medium-high heat, cook steaks to the desired doneness. Let rest on a cutting board for 5 minutes. Thinly slice. Prepare the pasta according to the package directions. Drain. Set aside.

4. For the pesto: In a food processor or blender, add the cilantro or basil (reserve some for garnish), garlic, parmesan cheese, nuts, oil, salt and pepper. Blend to desired consistency. (Note: Add additional oil for a smoother version.)

5. In a stock pot or Dutch oven over medium heat, add cooked pesto, the cut-up veggies and corn kernels. (Note: Store any remaining pesto in a sealed container and refrigerate.) Mix well. Cook for 3-4 minutes or until heated through. Remove from heat. Stir in cheese and tomatoes. For each serving, place the desired amount of the pesto pasta and veggie mixture on plates, and top with sliced steak. Garnish with basil or cilantro leaves. Serve immediately.

Jennifer Burns
Jennifer Burns
Jennifer has hosted more than 3,000 TV cooking segments and works directly with brands developing recipes with their products and quality content for them to use in both broadcast and non-broadcast outlets. She has a published cookbook called Cooking Delight, which combines food, music and art and is a contributing food writer for Salt Lake magazine, The Salt Lake Tribune and others. Besides cooking and frequenting restaurants, she takes full advantage of the outdoor mecca that Utah offers.

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