If you follow the blog, you know how much I love vegetables. Which means you know how much I love a good farmers’ market. And while I love farmers’ markets all year round, it’s hard to beat a farmers’ market in the summer, bursting with the best of fresh vegetables, tomatoes in particular.
Given all these stated loves – and to avoid cooking too much on a hot summer day – I came up with a ‘raw’ pasta sauce that, all humility aside, will blow your mind. After a few variant experiments, I landed on a recipe that is just about perfect. It’s pretty easy too, even though it involves a little dicing and chopping.
While I like to let the ‘sauce’ sit for 30 minutes to an hour before tossing with the pasta, to get really flavorful, if you are in a hurry you can start your water boiling, then start prepping the “sauce” and by the time the pasta is finished, the “sauce” will be ready. Quick, easy and delicious. The recipe is very forgiving, too – have a little more tomato, corn or chili on hand? All good. In fact, the more of the vegetables the better.
You can also vary it, depending on the vegetables you like. Do you have a ton of zucchini or squash? Not a problem, dice it up and add it in. Same for just about any of your favorite vegetables. But the first time you try it – and you must – make it as written below. Be sure to include the herbs, the mint in particular. The mint makes a big difference. Be sure also to use the goat cheese, even if you think you don’t like it. You’ll never know this has goat cheese – people who swear to me they can’t stand goat cheese love this pasta – and the small amount of goat cheese adds a delirious creaminess, particularly when it melds with the juices from the tomatoes. (If you don’t like tomatoes, there’s no helping you, it’s beyond my significant gifts.)
I’ve made this dish a few times the past couple of weeks to prep for the blog post and each time I made it, everyone who tried it raved.
Trust me. This is a keeper.
For the recipe, click here to
‘NO-COOK’ FARMER’S MARKET PASTA
Note: Don’t let the long instructions throw you… It’s fast! Basically throw a bunch of stuff together and toss. I just like to make sure everything is clear.
3 large cartons of cherry tomatoes, various colors and sizes
1 large fresno chili (or a large jalapeño)
1/2 half large red onion
3 ears of corn (white corn works great here)
3 cloves garlic, minced
red wine vinegar
salt and pepper
1 bunch of basil, julienned
10-12 mint leaves, julienned
6 oz goat cheese
1 lb bucatini or orecchiette
- Halve the cherry tomatoes. If they are large, quarter them. As you prep the tomatoes, throw the halves or quarters in a large bowl. (Be sure to include any extra juice that ends up on the cutting board.)
- Halve the fresno chili. Scoop out the white pith in the middle, reserving the seeds. Slice the halves very thin (I use a mandolin here but very thin slices with a knife work.) Add to the bowl, along with your preference of fire with the seeds. I like all the seeds but that does give it some healthy heat.
- Remove the corn kernels from the cobs. (Stand the cob on the large end, take a knife and slide it down the cob, deep.) Add the kernels to bowl. Try to get as much of the corn’s ‘milk’ as possible into the bowl. After removing the kernels, I even scrape the cob over the bowl to get more of the corn ‘milk’ into the sauce.
- Dice the red onion. Add to bowl.
- Add the minced garlic to the bowl.
- Add some olive oil… a few ‘glugs’… then 4 or 5 good shakes of red wine vinegar. Salt and pepper to taste, stirring everything together. Don’t under-season!
- I like this to sit 30 minutes to an hour, letting the flavors come together. But even fresh tossed, it will be great.
- Prepare your pasta according to package directions. Be sure to salt the water. (I am a big fan of bucatini… if you want a spaghetti shape, use bucatini instead of spaghetti, it’s heartier and I love the whole down the center, which can fill with sauce. But the orecchiette ‘ears’ are wonderful also, as they catch the sauce in a really lovely manner. The orecchiette is also a little easier to eat.)
- When the pasta is about half done, toss the basil and mint into the ‘sauce’. The mint might sound strange but it makes a huge difference in the sauce, adding some nice depth and countering the spice of the chili. Keep tasting! Get the salt the way you like it. And the sauce should have both a nice kick from the chili and a zing from the vinegar. (These will be tempered momentarily when you finish the dish.)
- When the pasta is finished, drain it, reserving a cup of pasta water.
- Toss the pasta in a second large bowl (or the pasta pot) with a couple of glugs of olive oil, the goat cheese and ¼ cup pasta water. Toss well, developing a nice creamy sauce. Add more pasta water if need be. You don’t want it watery at all, just creamy.
- Then add your ‘sauce and toss well! Eat!