I don't know, but I've seen it in the movies: Italians will eat pasta all year long. Whether it's in the bleak mid-winter or al fresco on a sunny summer afternoon, pasta is always there. And as Chef Jerry Pellegrino of Schola Cooking School will tell you, there seems to be quite a few pasta ideas that are appropriate for these warmer months.
Here's a few.
Gazpacho Pasta Salad
1 lb. of penne pasta, cooked al dente and cooled
1 Italian frying (cubanelle) pepper or another long, light green pepper, such as Anaheim, cored, seeded and cut into ¼ inch dice
1 sweet red bell pepper, cored, seeded and cut into ¼ inch dice
1 cucumber, about 8 inches long, peeled and cut into ¼ inch dice
1 small red onion, peeled and cut into ¼ inch dice
½ cup pitted Kalamata olives roughly chopped
½ cup flat leaf parsley leaves, roughly chopped
½ cup feta cheese crumbled
For the dressing:
1 pound ripe red tomatoes, cored and roughly cut into chunks
1 Italian frying (cubanelle) pepper or another long, light green pepper, such as Anaheim, cored, seeded and roughly cut into chunks
1 sweet red bell pepper, cored, seeded and roughly cut into chunks
1 cucumber, about 8 inches long, peeled, seeded and roughly cut into chunks
1 small red onion, peeled and roughly cut into chunks
3 cloves garlic
4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt & hot sauce to taste
To make the dressing:
Combine tomatoes, pepper, cucumber, onion and garlic in a blender or, if using a hand blender, in a deep bowl. (If necessary, work in batches.) Blend at high speed until very smooth, at least 2 minutes, pausing occasionally to scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula.
Gazpacho Pasta Salad cont’d
With the motor running, add the vinegar and 2 teaspoons salt. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil. The mixture will turn bright orange or dark pink and become smooth and emulsified, like a salad dressing. If it still seems watery, drizzle in more olive oil until texture is creamy. Strain the mixture through a strainer, pushing all the liquid through with a spatula or the back of a ladle. Discard the solids. Chill the dressing for at least one hour but it will get better if you leave it in the fridge overnight.
Before serving, adjust the seasonings with salt, hot sauce and vinegar.
To make the salad
Place all of the ingredients in a bowl, dress liberally with the dressing and serve.
Cucumber & Lemon Spaghetti
1 lb. spaghetti, cooked al dente and cooled
3 large cucumbers, peeled, seeded and roughly cut into chunks
The zest of two large lemons
2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 cup fresh basil leaves
2 cups Greek yogurt
Salt to taste
Place the cucumbers into a food processor set with the chopping blade and sprinkle with salt. Pulse a few times to get the cucumbers to look like coarse oatmeal. Add the basil, lemon zest and juice and purée until smooth and slightly green in color. Place the purée in a mixing bowl and whisk in the yogurt. Adjust the seasoning with salt. Toss the spaghetti in the dressing and serve.
Cheese Tortellini with Charred Tomatoes & Roasted Garlic
The basic pasta recipe
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups AP flour
Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
Add the eggs and olive oil and mix until the dough has been formed.
Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and knead for approximately 5 minutes. Cover the dough with a damp cloth and allow to rest for 30 minutes.
Roll the dough and cut it according to the pasta maker’s directions
For the tortellini filling
1 cup grated parmesan
1 cup goat cheese
Mix all of the ingredients together in a mixing bowl until soft and well combined. To make the tortellini, Cut 3 inch squares out of the sheets of pasta. Place ½ teaspoon into the center of each square. Brush the edges of the square with water and fold over to seal. Fold back around your finger and turn down the edge to form a tortellini. Cook the tortellini in a large pot of boiling water until they float. Remove and toss in some extra virgin olive oil. Keep warm.
To make the Sauce
1 lb cherry tomatoes, cut in half
12 cloves confit garlic (see below)
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ lb. fresh baby arugula
Char both sides of the tomatoes under the broiler or with a torch. Put the charred tomatoes and the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl. Add the warm tortellini and toss a few time to coat the pasta and divide up into bowls. Top with grated parmesan and some extra oil from the garlic confit.
25 large garlic cloves, peeled
2 cups extra virgin olive oil
Place the garlic cloves in a small sauce pan and cover with the olive oil. Cook the garlic cloves at 150°F for two hours. Allow to cool to room temperature. Place in a jar with a tight fitting lid and store in the refrigerator for up to one month.
Ricotta Cavatelli with Peas, Mint & Feta
Ingredients for the Cavatelli
3 cups (1 pound) all-purpose flour
1 pound ricotta cheese
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
½ teaspoon salt
Put 2 1/2 cups of the flour into a bowl, make a well in the flour, and add the cheese, eggs and salt. Gradually work the mixture together, adding more flour if necessary, to make a soft but not sticky dough. On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough until it is smooth. Let the dough rest in the refrigerator, wrapped in plastic, for 30 minutes.
Form the dough into a round and cut into quarters. Working with one quarter at a time (cover the remaining dough with an inverted bowl to keep the dough from drying out), on a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a rope 1/4 inch in diameter. With a knife, cut the rope into 1/2-inch pieces. With your index and third fingers held together, gently press down on each piece, beginning at the top and moving down toward the bottom, dragging your fingers toward you and causing the pasta to roll over on itself. Transfer the formed pasta to a lightly floured baking sheet and let dry at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. Cook the cavatelli in a large pot of boiling water until they float. Strain and add to a large bowl containing:
1 lb. cooked peas
2 tablespoons fresh mint
½ lb. feta cheese, crumbled
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
Toss all the ingredients together to coat well and serve warm.