Becoming Ina

As my siblings and I have gotten older, and with my growing interest in food over the years, our family vacations have become more and more revolved around food. Sure, we like to occupy ourselves with other activities–bike rides, swimming, tennis–but really, these activities just fill in the gaps between meals. (This is actually how I operate on a daily basis, but is even more pronounced on vacation when food is meant to be enjoyed and indulgent). So when my mom arranged our week-long stay in East Hampton back in April, you can bet that I went right to work researching all the hot spots and local eateries.

Being a huge Ina Garten, I felt like I’d already been to East Hampton a million times before, having seen almost every episode of her show. The cheese shop owner would greet me by name, and my favorite loaf of bread would be waiting for me at the bakery–and everything would be for free, just like it is for Ina! Well, things certainly do not come free in the Hamptons–far from it–but I was most charmed by all of the local shops and farms.

In between over-the-top meals at The Palm and Nick & Toni’s, we did need somewhat of a breather. But that didn’t mean we had to skimp on flavor. After a trip to the farmer’s market in Amagansett, I decided to make a simple pasta primavera with all of the fresh vegetables. Served with some nice crusty bread, it made a delicious, fresh meal, just light enough to leave room for dessert. All of the restaurants we tried throughout the week were spectacular–impeccable service and food–but nothing made me feel more like quintessential Ina than cooking with local ingredients from my fabulous farmer friends. And just like Ina always says, I couldn’t help but say, “Now, how easy is that?”

Pasta Primavera

Serves 4-5


1 lb dried pasta (I used spaghetti, but any kind will do)

3 tbs olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 cup chopped yellow onion

1 zucchini, cut into 1-inch cubes

1 yellow zucchini or summer squash, cut into 1-inch cubes

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 medium eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes

1/3 cup dry white wine

2 tbs rosemary, finely chopped

juice of 1 lemon

1/3 cup parmesan cheese

salt and pepper

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente.

2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and onion and saute 1-2 minutes, until fragrant.

3. Add the vegetables to the skillet and toss to coat in the oil, season with salt and pepper. Allow the veggies to cook and brown a bit, about 5-6 minutes.

4. Add the rosemary and white wine. Cook the vegetables until the wine reduces by half. Season the sauce with salt and pepper as needed.

5. When the sauce is done, pour into a large serving platter on top of the cooked pasta. Drizzle with the lemon juice and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Toss to combine and serve with fresh, crusty bread.

Pasta primavera à la East Hampton!
Insane chocolate from The Palm that we had to order for takeout after having devoured it in the restaurant. 
Delicious fig chutney, rosemary crackers and triple crème brie from Ina’s (and now my) favorite shop, Loaves & Fishes.

2 thoughts on “Becoming Ina

  1. Pingback: Friday Five: Favorite Herbs | Cooking With Cara

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