When a heat wave hits, the idea of eating a hot pasta is not the most appealing- that's why I tend to make cold pasta dishes that can be prepared in advance and kept in the fridge until you are ready to hit the patio or garden in the evening (just remember to pull it out 30 min prior to dinner).
Recipe calls for cherry tomatoes: I have struggled for a long time to find tasty, ripe tomatoes in Toronto before they make their short appearance at farmer's markets in September- I typically buy mine at Lady York: they might not reach Tuscan's goodness but they look and taste like they have seen some real sun!
For my super simple Summer Pasta (4 servings) you will need:
- a bunch of fresh basil
- 1/4 cup of pine nuts
- 1/4 cup of walnuts or pecans, peeled
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled
- 3 medium zucchini (I prefer the light green ones that are sometimes called vegetable marrows- much less bitter and watery)
- ripe cherry tomatoes, quantity varies depending on your taste, 200 g minimum.
- salt to taste
- a generous amount of my olive oil
- 340 g pasta- I prefer short pasta such as trofie or fusilli. Long pasta doesn't work as well for cold pasta dishes.
While you bring your pot of water to boil, cut the zucchini in small pieces- eliminating some of the core if too seedy- and toss them in: they will cook with the pasta.
In a blender, mix basil, nuts and garlic- add 1/4 cup of olive oil to make the "pesto" more creamy.
Cook pasta al dente and let it cool in a bowl after drizzling another 1/4 cup of olive oil. If you are short on time and can't wait for the pasta to cool on its own, place it with the strainer under cold water tossing it for a minute or two- using this method will also ensure that it remains al dente.
Once pasta is cold, add halved cherry tomatoesand the pesto sauce- believe it or not you will need to drizzle more olive oil on it!
Keep in fridge until you need it- no more than a day.
Some additions: black olives, anchovies, mozzarella