We are hitting the end of the summer produce season, and I am guessing that a few of you out there have already felt the first hints of fall with some crisp mornings, the sun setting a bit earlier and of course the changing of routines with the commencing of school and shifting away from the relaxed days of summer work.
I am in denial about this particular change of seasons and refuse to shift my culinary tastes quite yet.
The end of summer typically also means a surplus of a few items…the most famous of which are zucchini and of course, tomatoes!
This dish is the answer to an overabundance of tomatoes and a seeming under-abundance of time.
3-4 medium/large tomatoes (or equivalent of cherry tomatoes, roma’s etc.)
2-3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 bunch of fresh basil
½ tsp. dried oregano
2-3 tbsp.’s of olive oil (more to taste)
salt and pepper to taste
1 package of fresh pasta (refrigerated – like Buitoni or similar brands)
parmesan cheese to garnish
- Chop tomatoes into roughly the same size chunks – I quartered the cherry tomatoes and used that as a size guide for cutting up the larger tomatoes. Put all the chopped tomatoes into a bowl and include all the tomato juice and liquid that leaked out during the chopping.
- Chop or mince the garlic – the smaller the pieces, the more pungent the garlic flavor will be.
- Julienne the basil leaves, leaving a few whole for the final garnish.
- Add the basil, garlic and the dried oregano to the tomatoes and liberally salt and pepper the mixture.
- Drizzle the olive oil over the mixture and stir gently to combine and let the flavors start to marry.
Resist the urge to eat this by the spoonful!
Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package. Once the pasta has drained, put it back into the pot and dump in the tomato mixture and mix the two together. This is a good time to add a bit more olive oil and salt. Remember to always season dishes as you are cooking, and taste it along the way.
Serve up the pasta into bowls and top with grated parmesan and a few leaves of basil. A slice or two of crusty bread is a nice accompaniment to help sop up all the garlicky tomato essence. This dish is best enjoyed al fresco even if you have to throw on a heavy sweater and long pants to keep warm! 🙂
Do you have dishes that act as a protest to seasonal change? A culinary equivalent of indian summer? What are your favorite recipes to utilize all of those late summer vegetables that seem to grow exponentially quicker as the days of summer ween?
I don’t know about you…but, I measure my summer in corn and tomatoes. Looking through recent photos…I’ve gone a little heavy on the corn as of late. I was flipping through a cookbook at my parents and this recipe for Corn and Parmesan Pesto with Tagliatelle immediately caught my eye! Fresh pasta with a fresh corn pesto topped accented with a little bacon and fresh basil just screamed SUMMER to me! I had to make it and make it, I did.
The book is The Farm: rustic recipes for a year of incredible food by Ian Knauer, and after making this dish and drooling over the photos throughout…it is definitely on my cookbook wish-list! He also happens to have a blog as I found out while researching a bit and I have now bookmarked this recipe (dare I try yet another buttermilk panna cotta?) as well as this one for future endeavors.
I don’t know why I had not thought of corn pesto before…but it will for sure have a place in my summer repertoire from now on! Hmmm…I wonder what other types of pesto I could make? Mushroom pesto…what about a zucchini and summer squash pesto…?
The recipe (courtesy of Ian Knauer) is shown below and includes a few adaptations I made…adding bacon and scallions and using store-bought fresh fettucine pasta.
3 tbsp.’s plus 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 cups fresh corn kernels (cut from about 6 large ears)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large garlic clove, minced
kosher salt and black pepper
½ cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for serving
1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
8 ounces of tagliatelle or fettucine
5-7 strips of thick-cut bacon, cooked and crumbled
3-4 scallions, green and light green parts only, thinly sliced
¾ cup coarsely torn fresh basil leaves
- Heat 3 tablespoons of the oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmer. Add the corn, onion, garlic, 1¼ teaspoons of salt, and ¾teaspoon pepper and sauté until the corn is just tender but not brown, about 4 minutes.
- Transfer 1½ cups of the corn kernels to a small bowl. Scrape the remaining corn mixture into a food processor. Add the parmesan and the toasted pine nuts. With the machine running, add the remaining 1/3 cup olive oil and blend until the pesto is almost smooth.
- Cook the pasta in a large pot of heavily salted boiling water, according to package directions until al dente. Reserve 1½ cups of the pasta-cooking water, then drain the pasta. Return the pasta to the pot.
- Add the corn pesto, the reserved corn mixture and ½ cup of the basil leaves as well as the crumbled crispy bacon.
- Toss the pasta over medium heat until warmed through, adding the reserved pasta-cooking water to thin to the desired consistency, 2 to 3 minutes. Season the pasta to taste with salt and pepper.
- Transfer the pasta to a large shallow bowl. Sprinkle with the remaining ¼ cup basil leaves and the sliced scallions and serve with additional grated parmesan.
I doubled the recipe as I was feeding a crowd, and having leftover bacon (what a phenomenom…leftover…bacon…?) from breakfast, I couldn’t resist adding it to the dish. I think the smoky bacon flavor countered the sweetness of the corn, the bite of the onions and the freshness of the basil really nicely.
Are you a corn purist? Eating it straight up on the cob with melted butter and salt…or do you prefer your corn as kernels and mixed in and amongst other ingredients?