I rarely eat pasta. I’m not entirely sure why, other than when I crave basic carbs, I just eat bread with some cheese or butter, even if I have to make the bread myself. And when I do eat pasta, I usually make myself Mac and Cheese, or some variant of it, because it is one of life’s ultimate comfort foods (the other two are soup and ice cream). But, this week I decided to make an exception to that, and made pasta with summer vegetables.
Linguine (2 serving)
1 yellow squash, halved and then thinly sliced
1 cup or so cherry tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, minced
handful of pine nuts, toasted
10 large basil leaves, chopped
Salt and pepper
Cut the cherry tomatoes in half, toss with olive oil, and roast them. Now, roasting tomatoes can be done in a variety of different ways, I roasted them at 275 in the oven for about an hour and a half. Once they have roasted, set aside. Boil the pasta. In the meantime, saute the garlic and the squash in some olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. When they are almost done, add some white wine (like 2 tablespoons? – I just pour some directly from the bottle, rather than measure) and finish cooking. Then add the cherry tomatoes, pasta, and basil. Mix the whole thing together and make sure it’s heated through. Serve in bowls, then sprinkle with the pine nuts and parmesan.
This was such a good recipe. Perfect for summer, and full of flavor, and not too complicated. Also, leave off the parmesan and its totally vegan. I’d love to say that I’d make this recipe again, but I doubt it, only because I never seem to make pasta! Ah well, maybe this will motivate me. Serve with white wine of course – whatever you cooked with. I used a torrontes, which is decent, but not my favorite varietal. Song of the Week: A Simple Desultory Philippic (or How I Was Robert McNamara’d into Submission) by Simon and Garfunkel. Way funkier than their normal stuff, but totally amazing and pretty much a string of references. It’s super 60s in the best possible way.
I will impulsively buy things at the grocery store, and deal with coming up with how to use them effectively much later. This week, the impulse buy was yellow squash – which I figured would be easy enough to use. I contemplated making Mexican tartlets, which I’ve made before, but then my brain began to play with the general idea. I came up with turning the tartlet concept into a sort of pizza-type thing, which I am calling Mexican pizza (although admittedly it is neither really Mexican nor pizza, ah well).
Masa Harina dough
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup masa harina
dash of salt
1/3 cup butter
1 tablespoon wine vinegar
Measure flour, masa harina, and salt into a bowl and mix them all thoroughly. Using a pastry cutter or a fork, cut in the butter until there are no significant sized lumps. Mix the vinegar with 3 tablespoons of water and add the mixture, a little at a time, until the dough comes together. If you need more water, add it in small amounts. The dough should be soft and pliable, but cohesive and not sticky. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside while you make the filling
4 ounces crumbled queso fresca
1/2 onion, sliced and quartered
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1 ear corn, kernels shaved off
One medium yellow squash, sliced
1 1/2 – 2 teaspoons cumin
Stick the onions, garlic, and corn in a bowl. Add a tablespoon of olive oil and the cumin and coat the veggies so they are all coated. Roll out the masa harina dough either into a large pizza, or two little ones. Spoon a layer of salsa over the dough, then add the squash slices. Spoon the corn-onion mixture over the squash, then add the crumbled cheese on top. Bake the pizza for 30 minutes at 375. Serve warm.
Ok, I’ve made a lot of Mexican-fusion type recipes in my day, and all of them were good. But this was just incredibly delicious. It’s very much a summer recipe. I generally go with beer for Mexican food, a wheat beer or a Hefeweizen works best, although this recipe isn’t spicy. I’m sure if you want, you can add chopped cilantro to the pizza once you pull it out of the oven, or additional spices when you add the cumin to the onion-corn mixture. Song of the week: If I Needed Someone by the Beatles. Rubber Soul is the second-best Beatles album (Revolver is the best) and this is just such a good song. Lesser-known Beatles songs are still better than 80% of all music.