As soon as tomatoes appear at the farmstand, I rush to make summer pasta salad. Have you ever made it? It’s just chopped heirloom tomatoes marinated with tons of garlic, fragrant basil, a good pour of olive oil, and minced red onion. As the tomatoes sit on the counter, the scents of garlic and fruity tomato waft around the kitchen. Hot pasta hits the “sauce,” which coats each strand with its summery goodness. Then you’re ready to eat.
Ever since we got back from Thailand, I’ve been tweaking a lot of my favorites with Asian flavors. Birdseye chilis. Fish sauce. Sesame oil and sesame seeds. Smoky chili oil.
The summer pasta is no exception, and it presents the perfect palate update for telling you about P.F. Chang’s Flavors of Summer sweepstakes.
I was really excited to hear that the restaurant is playing with some of my favorite ingredients in its seasonal menu this summer. There’s avocado, lime, quinoa. There’s Thai basil, fresh carrots, heirloom tomatoes. There’s green beans, cilantro, fresh mango.
And, there’s a contest going on, so that if you help highlight these delicious ingredients on your pinterest board or create a recipe with them, as I’ve done here, you can win generous gift cards to P.F. Chang’s. Here’s where to read more about the sweepstakes.
The way I cooked with these summer ingredients illustrates a lot for you about the way I like to put meals together right now. I’ll always be a carb-lover, but in summer, carbs become merely the base for my bowl meals, with as many vegetables as possible collected, chopped, and thrown on top. Each one brings something to the dish: the tomatoes add sweetness, the basil contributes the essence of summer. I like the carrots and snow peas for crunch, and the avocado for creamy sweet richness. Finally, shrimp tops the bowl, making this a complete meal.
Colorful and crisp though they may be, it’s hard for images to convey to you how wondrously fragrant and satisfying this bowl is. Those tomatoes. That basil. That garlic.
I wrote this sponsored post in partnership with P.F. Chang’s in order to tell you about their Summer Seasonal Menu and Flavors of Summer Sweepstakes. Thanks for supporting the sponsors that make BGSK great!
Summer Udon Noodles with Heirloom Tomatoes, Avocado, and Shrimp
Serves 2 as a main, 4 as a side
The prep for this dish is mainly chopping–much cooler than roasting or frying! All the cooking takes place in one big pot of boiling water, so have all the to-be-cooked ingredients (shrimp, snow peas, noodles) ready to go near the stove.
1/2 pound cleaned shrimp
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 shallot, minced
1/3 cup safflower or grapeseed oil
About 12 basil or Thai basil leaves, cut into thin strips
About 3/4 pound Roma or other plum-sized tomatoes, chopped
juice from 1 lime
2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon fish sauce
pinch red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 pound udon noodles
Large handful snow peas, trimmed
2 carrots, peeled, trimmed, and julienned
1 avocado, cut in cubes
Combine the basil, tomatoes, garlic, shallot, salt, oil, lime juice, sugar, fish sauce, red pepper, sand salt in a serving bowl big enough to hold the noodles. Let marinate on the countertop for at least 30 minutes and up to 3 hours.
When ready to eat, bring a large pot of water to boil. Add a bunch of salt. Set a colander in a heat-proof bowl near the stove and grap a pasta server–one of those spoons with spikes to catch the noodles.
Cook the noodles in the salted water according to package directions, about 4 minutes. Scoop them out into the waiting colander in a bowl. (Leave the water boiling.) Shake out the noodles over the sink, then add them to the bowl with the tomatoes. Toss.
Bring the bowl and colander back to stove side. Add the snow peas and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until just barely cooked. Scoop into the colander, shake to dry, and transfer to a bowl. Finally, add the shrimp to the boiling water and cook just until pink, less than two minutes. Scoop out into the colander.
Top the noodles with the julienned carrots, cooked snow peas, avocado, and shrimp. Garnish with extra basil, torn, and a squeeze or two of lime.