Summertime Pasta

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This pasta dish is full of wonderful, fresh, summer ingredients.  For some strange reason, it tastes best when eaten outdoors on a beautiful spring or summer day.  We serve it room temperature, so it can sit on a picnic buffet table all afternoon.  We love it and make it often in the spring and summer because, besides be absolutely delicious, it solves the problem of what pasta to make for a barbecue.  And if that barbecue is on a Sunday, it solves the “red sauce” dilemma.  This past Sunday was Mother’s Day (Happy Belated Mother’s Day to all you moms out there), and this pasta dish rounded out our culinary celebration.  There is a funny joke about Italians and barbecues that I just love.  ” What is an Italian Barbecue?  We eat the baked ziti outside instead of inside.”   While this may be true, in my family, we just choose to make a lighter pasta, that’s goes better with the outdoors…..and hamburgers and hotdogs!  As crazy as it seems, once the thrill of that first hotdog of the season is over, everyone is looking for the pasta.  For years, I fought my family on this, and didn’t want to make pasta for our barbecues.   How about a little macaroni salad or cole slaw, people?  Anyway, I have given up the fight, and now, I too am always looking forward to some pasta sitting next to my hamburger!

RECIPE:  For 1 pound of pasta

1 pound of gemelli or short fusilli pasta

1 pt. cherry tomatoes

6 plum tomatoes

2 TBSP. capers

1/2 cup Italian black cured olives, pitted and chopped

1 tsp. oregano

1 tsp salt

freshly ground pepper

1/4 olive oil, plus a tablespoon or two for drizzle

2 cups loosely packed basil, chopped, but save several large sprigs for garnish

Freshly grated Parmigiano and Pecorino Romano cheese

1.  Boil water in a pot large enough to hold the plum tomatoes.  Put tomatoes in the boiling water for 3 to 5 minutes, just long enough to soften the skin.  Drain and let cool.

2.  Chop the cherry tomatoes in quarters.  Put in large bowl.

3.  When cool, remove skin from the plum tomatoes, and chop coarsely.  Place in bowl with cherry tomatoes.

4.  Add oil, capers, olives, oregano, salt and pepper.  Add the basil, even the garnish. Mix.

5.  Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let marinate for several hours at room temperature.

6.  Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the pasta.

7.  Drain pasta when done, put in serving bowl and add a drizzle or two of olive oil plus a handful of Parmigiano cheese before adding the other ingredients.

8.  Serve with freshly grated Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano cheese.

9.  Serve hot, room temperature, or cold………inside or outside.

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