Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Summer, How do I Love Thee...
Last summer, I had a delicious pasta dish at a restaurant in Winter Park called Luma. It had fresh house-made pasta, corn, dill, and maybe shrimp or crab, but I don’t recall exactly. It was the crisp pop of the corn against the silky fresh pasta that I remember the most. I’m not sure that corn with pasta is a pairing that is visited very often, but it is one of my favorites. I’ve done my own spin on that Luma pasta before…here’s the sequel.
As I mentioned in my last post, Jason being out of town gives me an excuse to eat the bad stuff he doesn’t like, such as creamy pasta sauces, fatty steaks, and stinky foods like olives and anchovies. Yeah, yeah, he probably keeps my arteries clean simply by not liking butter and cheese, but I can’t help that I love the bad stuff!
So in a compromise, I decided to fill my pasta dish with lots of veggies…and toss it all in goat cheese, melting it on the stove so it was creamy and lush. (I didn't make a huge effort to get a pretty picture—it just looked too tasty!) If you’re watching calories or you just don’t do goat cheese, this would be perfectly delicious without it. A lovely ode to the last days of summer.
Ode to Summer Pasta
The intent of this dish is to showcase the veggies; the pasta is kind of a backdrop. If you want more carbs or just a bigger portion, increase the pasta to 1/2 pound.
2 to 3 teaspoons olive oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
1 medium zucchini, cut into matchstick-size pieces
1/3 pound angel hair or thin spaghetti
1 good-size ear of corn, kernels cut off and reserved
1/2 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 container crumbled goat cheese
Scant 1/4 cup pasta cooking water or chicken stock
8 to 10 leaves fresh basil, torn or chopped
In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat (closer to medium). Add the onions, a pinch of salt, and a little pepper, and toss to combine. When onions begin to soften, add zucchini. Add a little bit of chicken stock or more oil if the skillet looks dry. At this point, drop the pasta, and everything should finish up about the same time. When zucchini just starts to soften, add corn kernels, and toss everything frequently until veggies are soft. Add tomatoes, and continue to cook, stirring, until tomatoes are wilted. Taste and add salt and pepper, if needed. Reduce heat to low.
Drain pasta, reserving some water if using, and add pasta to the skillet. Toss with the veggies, and add the reserved cooking water or chicken stock a bit at a time, and toss until everything is combined. Let sit for 30 seconds to allow the cheese to melt, and then thoroughly stir or toss to coat everything with the cheese. Add more water or stock, if needed. Taste and adjust salt and pepper, add basil, and serve.