I might still be struggling to get on eastern time (I was asleep at 830 last night and up again this morning a little after 5–what gives?), but I have regained some of my cooking chops. When we were in Italy my uncle served us Pasta Fredda twice, and yesterday I made myself a near-Fredda for lunch. Mr. Pea and I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with this dish that involves a story containing a large volume of limoncello, jet lag, and hours in the sun—suffice to say I have enjoyed this dish more than twice, if you know what I mean. Also, I will never touch limoncello again.
Anyway, seeing as there is precious little in the fridge right now, I thought I’d make myself a little bowl. Now traditionally pasta fredda contains chopped mozzerella. My uncle made it with mozzerella di buffala, which, if you’ve never had it, is the ice cream of the cheese world. It puts brie to shame with its richness and deliciousness. It’s also exceptionally heavy as a result, and in the States, veeeeery expensive. Our fridge has no mozzerella whatsoever, so that pivotal ingredient had to be foregone. I know purists would scoff, but such is life.
To make pasta fredda, combine some tomatoes (serving one person, I chopped six or seven grape tomatoes in half for me), fresh basil (for medium-sized leaves for one), good olive oil (about 1 tablespoon for one person) and a good dose of sea salt and let sit. If you have mozzerella, add that in there, too. We also ate it with a handful of corn mixed in as well. You want it to sit, minimally, for at least as long as you cook the pasta. I think my uncle let it sit for about an hour.
Then cook your pasta. Farfalle seems to be pretty traditional, though we had it with fusilli, as well. I cooked 2-3 ounces for li’l ol me. Drain and add to your bowl of tomatoes. Toss and enjoy. I added some fresh parmesan to it–probably a couple teaspoons or a tablespoon–so I’d have some cheesiness. It’s very tasty, very easy, and inexpensive to make.
For dinner last night, I made Italian-style steaks. When we were there, we had these lovely, thin veal steaks. Here, we had a couple of small (about 1/3 lb each) eye steaks. Without seasoning, grill until done to your liking, and then drizzle with olive oil, sea salt and a squeeze of lemon to serve. It’s simple and delicious. That seems to be the heart of most Italian cooking–the simplicity of the recipes belies the incredible results. We ate that with roasted potatoes, a salad, a baguette, and red wine. You can’t go wrong with that!