The word had spread that I was working on a post about summer pastas and that the fabulous Melina Hammer was photographing all the yumminess, and so as not to keep you waiting any longer, voilà...the post on pasta! I must say I'm pretty darn impressed with myself for coming up with these recipes. Each dish is unique and unexpected but insanely simple to make. I think you're going to love them!
Salmon with Summer Squash and Capers over Capellini
This is my new favorite meal! The salmon (drizzled with olive oil and seasoned with sea salt and pepper) is roasted for 20 minutes at 350 degrees. Meanwhile, julienne the summer squash (I only used the skins for maximum color) and sauté in a little olive oil. When the salmon's done, break it up into big chunky pieces and arrange over the pasta. Garnish with the squash and sprinkle with capers (a little bit of the caper juice adds amazing flavor). The sauce is just a little lemon juice and olive oil. Season with sea salt, pepper, and bit of grated lemon zest.
This pasta is fantastic warm, room temperature or cold. I made it for some friends last night and it was a huge hit! My friend Pietro brought us fresh figs for dessert, which I served with pieces of dark chocolate. It was just one of those evenings where everything came together so beautifully and organically, as if it took no effort at all (company included).
Linguine with Shrimp, Clams and Mussels
It's time to get over your fear of cooking shellfish. You're going to read this recipe and say "Oh, that's it?" The shrimp (prepped with the typical accoutrement: olive oil, sea salt and pepper) are roasted at 400 degrees for 6 minutes. Give the clams and mussels a good cleaning and make sure they're all closed (tap the open ones on your counter and if they close by themselves, they're good to go).
Me, smashing garlic, wearing that red linen apron I bought in Paris!
Sauté three cloves of minced garlic in olive oil (between 1/4 and 1/2 cup). Pour in about 1/2 cup of white wine and then add a few tablespoons of chopped parsley, sea salt, pepper and red pepper flakes (to taste). Dump in your shellfish and put the lid on the pot. I like to pick up the pot and give it a good shake, a technique I must've picked up somewhere (although I have no idea what it does). Simmer for about six minutes, or until all of the shells have opened (throw out any stragglers that insist on staying closed, or you will get very ill and will be very mad at me for encouraging you to cook shellfish). I love to plate the clams and mussels in their shells; the presentation is beautiful.
Isn't Melina's photography amazing? I mean, I just want to reach into my computer screen and devour everything!
Farfalle with Pesto, Spinach and Shaved Parmesan
Everyone needs to know how to make pesto. There are a million variations and it's all about finding your own personal taste. I don't even measure...I just keep tasting it until I'm happy. Combine olive oil, basil, garlic, parmesan cheese, pine nuts (or walnuts), salt and pepper into a food processor (this is like the reason you need to buy a food processor, even if it's just one of those little ones). I usually make a huge batch and just store it in the freezer.
The bow tie pasta adds a bit of whimsy to the dish. I added raw spinach (although I think arugula would also taste lovely) and big shavings of parmesan on top. It's a little hard to see, but I love how Melina put the block of parmesan on a piece of wax paper in the background...it adds so much depth to the photo (and what a great presentation idea)!
I think three recipes will keep you busy for now! Try one tonight and let me know what you think. I'll be posting more pasta ideas tomorrow. Buon appetito!