Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Summer Salivations - Part I

I could not possibly have made that sound less appetizing. Okay, I could have titled the post "disgusting pukations from the planet Hurl," but I also don't go around philosophizing with an anthropomorphic tiger, and I think only six year old boys who do that are allowed to utter that sort of phrase.

I digress (as if any of my posts weren't digressions already). I'm here today to share with you, crammed into a two mondo posts, four dishes I've played around with this summer! Three are pastas. Are you surprised? I'm not - for some reason, summer is the time when I can't get enough pasta. It becomes all about the fresh ingredients, so why not?

Anyway, here we go!

Homemade Peppery Papardelle with Sauteed Zucchini and Mushrooms and Sundried Tomatoes

This dish here was fun to make, pretty much impromptu, when my brother Alexander came up to visit. I basically took inventory of the kitchen and made a sauce to accompany this papardelle out of whatever was around.

4 cups durum semolina
5 eggs
at least 2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
pinch of salt

2-3 zucchinis (and/or other summer squash), chopped into chunks
olive oil
5-10 crimini mushrooms
1/2 cup sundried tomatoes
salt and pepper
a hefty handful of fresh basil
a few cloves of garlic (duh)
shallot, diced


1. Prepare the pasta. If you want a more detailed description of how to make pasta, see several of our earlier posts. Make the semolina into a mound, mixing in the salt and pepper. Make a well in the middle and crack the eggs into it. Carefully break the yolks with a fork and mix, slowly incorporating more and more of the flour as you go, reinforcing the walls as necessary. Once the liquid is gone, continue mixing by hand until the dough holds together. Form into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap (or if you're as much of a hippie as I am, in a used plastic bag), and store in the freezer for an hour. Go watch an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

2. Roll out the pasta. If possible, conscript younger brother to do a lot of the rolling. Aim for about 1 mm thick. Once it's rolled out, cut into strips about 1/2 and inch (maybe even a little wider) wide. Set aside, and put up some water to boil.

3. Get the sauce ready. While younger brother is nearing the end of his pasta rolling, cut up your vegetables and, if necessary, rehydrate your sundried tomatoes. Heat some olive oil in a skillet and saute the zucchini and set aside. Then saute the mushrooms, and also set aside. Prevent younger brother from munching everything you just sauteed. Set about heating a good few tablespoons of oil, and saute your shallot. After it turns translucent, add most of the garlic and the sundried tomatoes. Now is a good time to put the pasta in to boil. Put the remaining parts of the sauce together once it's simmered for a few minutes, saving the remaining garlic and the basic for last. Turn off the head after giving it a few stirs. The pasta should only take a few minutes, so test it to see if it tastes done. Once it's al dente, drain it and combine pasta with sauce in a big bowl. Top servings with plenty of Parmesan.

Tada! This one is a good recipe for an evening where you have a good few hours to devote to the food, but believe me, it's worth it. The result is one of the most savory pasta dishes I've ever sampled!

Classic Tomato and Basil Pasta... with Three Colors of Tomato

Nothing says delectable summer meal like some pasta with olive oil, basil, garlic and tomatoes, right? Right. Except when you live by a co-op, and so you have access to locally grown heirloom tomatoes that come in a staggering variety of colors!

1 lb pasta of your choice
3 heirloom tomatoes (I went with green zebra, purple and classic red)
1 hearty handful of fresh basil
3 cloves garlic, minced
olive oil
salt and pepper


1. Boil the pasta and chop the veggies.

2. Heat up some olive oil on low heat. Add about half the garlic and the salt and pepper. Let it simmer for a few minutes, then add the rest of the ingredients, stir and turn off the heat. Combine with the pasta and top with Parmesan.

Easy, right? :)

Okay, I'm blogged out. See you soon for Part II.

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