Pasta with summer herbs from our Mary’s garden a great start to the season


I had the best of intentions of posting this delightful recipe in time for the Nativity of St. John the Baptist last Friday, June 24.

But the best of intentions got swept away by a fierce storm that blew through our Ocean County neighborhood with a rare fury that day, swirled around and came back a few hours later to rampage through the Monmouth County town where we planned to celebrate with friends.

As you can imagine, the outdoor meal in St. John’s honor was postponned ’til next year.

Over the weekend though, we learned of another reason to celebrate when we got word that The Monitor had won seven awards at the Catholic Press Association’s Media Convention in Pittsburgh. Among those awards was a third place prize for the way ‘Keeping the Feast’ brings faith into the kitchen.

This is the second year in a row that ‘Keeping the Feast’ been recognized by the Catholic Press Association and we’re very thrilled. It’s been a great team effort from the Faithful Foodies — Scott Alessi, who designed the blog for the second year in a row and shot so many of the pictures — and graphic designers Jeanne Kysela and Valerie DiGiacomo who contributed artistic touches, photos, recipes and insights.

In March of this year, Scott was named managing editor and Jeanne took over his duties as web developer and created the current delightful web design.

We all hope you’ll enjoy this recipe and many more to come created with love in kitchens where faith is a key ingredient!

This recipe takes its name — Mary’s Garden Pasta — and inspiration from the Mary Garden just outside my kitchen door where summer herbs proliferate all summer long and into the fall.

Mary’s Garden Pasta

Ingredients: 1 pound campanelle (corkscsrew) pasta (my new favorite!); 1 cup ricotta cheese (regular, skim or low fat as you prefer); 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese; salt and pepper to taste; 1/2 cup chopped parsley (I like curley Italian parsley); 1/2 cup chopped mint leaves; 1/2 cup chopped basil; two large, skinless chicken breasts poached in chicken or vegetable broth and cut into thin slices.

Directions: Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large skillet over very low heat, combine sliced chicken, cheeses and salt and pepper. Drain pasta, reserving 1/2 cup pasta water. Stir the pasta water into the cheese mixture, toss in the herbs and then the pasta to coat. Turn into a large pasta bowl, sprinkle with grated cheese and serve.

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