Sorry about the continuing corniness...but again I couldn't resist...! This week was a challenge, as the humid and hot weather continues without letup! Right now cooking is the last thing most people want to do...but cook we must or suffer through endless and expensive restaurant food or takeout...other people's food, not as good as what you can create yourself!
Today I want to write about some more hot weather dishes that are easy to prepare: one more corn recipe, and what has come to be a staple around my house in hot weather: pasta with cold tomato sauce.
At a cooking demonstration I attended last week, I sampled a dish that the chef called Zesty Cuban Corn. This was a family recipe of his and sounded more southern than Cuban, then again, what do I know about Cuban food? Next to nothing...something to explore! Anyway, the corn prepared this way was simple to prepare, very rich tasting, and quite delicious. He used mayonnaise to coat the corn, which I found a bit over the top. I decided to adapt it to something less rich and fattening, and try it tonight for dinner. It was so good, I just had to share it.
2-4 ears of corn (see my former post for easy preparation)
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
2-4 tablespoons of grated pecorino or romano cheese
1 teaspoon sugar
several grindings of black pepper, or crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp of ground garlic & parsley (I use Badia brand spice)
or you can roast the garlic yourself: chop a clove of garlic very fine, and place in a hot pan
coated with a small amount of olive oil, sprinkle 1/4 tsp salt cook on a very low flame until
brown (not black) and crunchy. This will keep. Mix with red pepper flakes for a nice
home-made spice mixture.
1 tsp dry parsley. (surprising: dried is used instead of fresh for texture)
Combine the mixture in a flat pan or plate. After you husk the corn, break the ear in half. Coat each with a bit of olive oil. Roll each piece in the mixture.
That's it! The heat from the corn will melt the cheese. Warning: dig out those corn holders, it can be messy if you don't.
Cold tomato sauce over pasta sounds very strange, doesn't it? When I first found this recipe in a community newsletter many years ago, it sounded strange but worth a try. It seemed it might be an answer to a quandary: How do I serve my family's favorite food in the blistering heat? This seemed like a solution, and it was: I have been making this dish every summer for the last 20 years.
Pasta with cold tomato sauce.
1 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes. I use Luigi Vitelli brand. It has the best consistency.
You can use fresh tomatoes but make sure they are very ripe plum tomatoes, peeled, without
too much juice. You don't want it to be watery.
1-2 cloves garlic, crushed.
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1-2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
5 leaves of fresh basil, cut into ribbons (chiffonade: roll up leaves and slice thin)
2 tablespoons of pecorino romano cheese
salt and pepper to taste
Combine in a ceramic bowl, place in fridge for several hours to combine flavors.
Boil pasta according to package instructions, 1 pound pasta al dente. I use Barilla pasta, fusilli or
penne. You can also use linguine. Barilla always seems to come out al dente!
Place 1-2 cups of hot pasta in plate, spoon over cold sauce. Garnish with more pecorino or
Although you have to boil water for the pasta, you avoid having that hot bubbling tomato sauce heat up the kitchen. You can make the pasta in advance, making sure you undercook a bit to compensate for re-heating. I do that in one of two ways: heat it up in a saucepan with a bit of water, or microwave it very carefully.
Served with crusty bread and a green salad with vinaigrette, it's an easy and light meal for a summer night.
Off to the beach!