Easy summer pasta with corn and tomatoes

I submitted a recipe last year for the Dane County Farmer’s Market newsletter using fresh, locally grown produce as well as ravioli from RP’s here in Madison. So here is an adaptation of that recipe, since summer is winding down and you’re looking for ways to stretch the last of the sweet corn as well as your tomatoes and zucchini that are very much in season right now.

1 lb. dry or fresh pasta
2 ears corn on the cob
¼ cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 large tomato, chopped
½ cup diced zucchini
¼ cup minced basil leaves
1/3 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Cook the pasta according to package directions, and drain, reserving about ¼ cup of the cooking liquid. Cook corn in salted boiling water for about 6 minutes. Drain and cool, then cut off kernels and set aside. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat, and add the garlic, fry for 15-20 seconds. Add tomato, corn and zucchini and cook for 3-4 minutes. (Yes, it’s a lot of oil, but it will be absorbed by the pasta and cheese, and olive oil is supposedly good for your arteries.) Add the basil leaves, then the pasta, cooking water, and finally the cheese. Heat for a minute or two or until warmed through, add the salt and pepper to taste, and serve. Serves 3-4


Pasta salads dudes can appreciate

Think of pasta salad, and it tends to be something women bring to book club. At least that’s what many guys think when they hear those two words. But I posted something on Grub for Guys last year that is intended to let guys open their minds a bit–pasta salad for dudes. Give these a shot at your next cookout, guys, and let me know how they go over…..

Summer is here and that means we typically shy away from hot soup, stew, or anything heavy. We tend to favor grilled meats, salads, and well, beer. But if you had a fear of pasta salad because it was too girly, I’m here to tell you not to fear—because I’ve created three dude-friendly cold pasta dishes that will put hair on your chest and pleasure in your belly. I give to you, antipasto pasta, Buffalo chicken pasta, and cold sesame noodles. Each recipe is good for 2-3 servings, but you can multiply that out if you need to.

Antipasto Pasta
Good Italian restaurants serve antipasto as a salad and that usually means salami and other meats, cheeses like provolone, olives, tomatoes and artichokes — or some variation on that. Here I took that concept to the pasta salad level, including a generous amount of heart-healthy olive oil.

½ lb. Bow tie pasta
1 large red bell pepper (or 1 large roasted red pepper, diced)
½ cup cubed provolone cheese
1/3 cup diced hard salami (5-6 thick slices)
1/4 cup diced deli ham (any Italian lunch meat works too)
¼ cup diced roasted turkey
¼ cup sliced black olives
¼ cup sliced green olives
1/3 cup chick peas
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 tsp. dried oregano
¼ cup prepared pesto sauce
Salt & pepper to taste

Cook pasta according to package directions, but on the lower end of the time (i.e. if it says 9-11 minutes, go with 9). Drain pasta and set aside. Trim end off red pepper, slice in half and grill for 5-6 minutes or until slightly charred. Cut into chunks (or use a jarred red pepper to save time). Combine cooked pasta, red pepper, cheese, salami, ham, turkey, olives and chick peas in a large bowl. In a small bowl, combine remaining ingredients and whisk until combined. Toss with pasta and serve.

Buffalo Chicken Pasta
I love chicken wings, but I’ve come to realize that it’s not just the fried goodness that makes wings such a god-like food. It’s the sauce. Admit it, you could drink a few shots of the stuff, couldn’t you? Well, I’ve made Buffalo chicken pizza, and now I have come up with Buffalo chicken pasta. You can thank me later.

4-5 chicken tenders
½ cup prepared buffalo wing sauce (a good thick one), plus 2-4 Tbsp.
½. Lbs. Penne pasta (or any kind you have)
¼ cup crumbled blue cheese
2 stalks celery, diced
1/3 cup mayonnaise
¼ cup sour cream
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
Salt & pepper

Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper and grill over medium heat in a grill pan or on a real grill, about 5-6 minutes, turning occasionally, or until cooked through and no longer pink. Chop into pieces and toss with 1-2 tablespoons of wing sauce. Cook pasta according to package directions, but on the low end of the time, and drain. Add another 1-2 Tbsp. wing sauce to chicken. Combine chicken, pasta, and celery in a large bowl. In a small bowl, combine remaining ingredients and stir until smooth. Toss with pasta and serve.

Cold Sesame Noodles
I fell in love with cold sesame noodles as a kid growing up on Long Island, where there are amazing Chinese restaurants. One restaurant made this dish to perfection, and I have done my best to re-create it. If you like peanut butter, you will love this recipe.

½ lb. buckwheat soba noodles or spaghetti
½ cup natural peanut butter
2 tbsp. Soy sauce
1 tsp. Sesame oil
1 tbsp. Hoisin sauce
2 tsp. Lime juice
1 tsp minced ginger
Water as needed
1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded and cut into thin strips
1 small green bell pepper, seeded and cut into thin strips
Red pepper flakes
Sesame seeds

In a large serving bowl, combine peanut butter, soy sauce, sesame oil, hoisin sauce, lime juice and ginger. Mix well, then gradually add water, 1 tbsp. at a time until sauce is smooth and creamy and losing some of its thickness. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, and add to sauce along with cucumber and green pepper. Stir to combine, sprinkle with red pepper flakes and sesame seeds, and serve.


Pasta with creamy red pepper sauce

Chef JimThe weather can’t make up its mind this time of year–you have warm days that make you think of grilling and big salads. You then have days like today in Wisconsin, where it is snowing and raining, in which I had a grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup for lunch. But if you, like me, still have about, oh, 20 or more holiday pounds to shed, here is a recipe I created a few years back for a healthy pasta with red pepper sauce. Give it a try and let me know what you think….


1 package Rossi Whole Wheat Linguini
1 tbsp. Olive oil
3 large red bell peppers, halved and seeded
3 tbsp chicken broth
½ tsp. Minced garlic
¼ cup fat free half & half
Salt and pepper to taste

On a preheated grill rack, grill pepper halves on high heat. Grill for 10-12 minutes or until peppers begin to char, turning occasionally. Set aside to let cool.

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, drizzle with olive oil to keep from sticking and set aside.

Place grilled peppers in a food processor along with chicken broth, garlic, salt and pepper. Puree or pulse until just smooth and pour mixture into a large saucepan. Warm over medium heat, slowly adding half and half until smooth. Add pasta to sauce and heat through. Makes 8 servings.


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