Warm Weather Rigatoni
In the world a lot of us live in, pasta gets a bad rap. Between the vilification of all carbs that happened back at the turn of the century and today's gluten-free craze, pasta can't get a break. Sometimes it feels like no one has enjoyed a bowl of noodles without some sense of guilt since the late nineties.
Since we've embraced high-waisted denim and crop tops, maybe we should also allow ourselves to go back to a time when pasta wasn't the god-damned devil.
Seriously, pasta isn't making you fat. I promise you.
The best thing about pasta is how versatile it is. You can literally put anything on it. It's the perfect blank canvas, waiting for any other food to come along and turn it into a masterpiece.
This an incredibly easy recipe that can be enjoyed immediately, but will also be just as delicious the next day.
You will need:
8 oz. (about half a box) of Rigatoni
1 cup frozen green peas
1 1/2 cups halved grape tomatoes
1/2 cup Italian parsley, roughly chopped
6 large basil leaves, julienned
1/2 cup crumbled queso fresco
3 large tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Juice of one large or two small lemons
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Kosher or Sea Salt
1. Bring a big pot of heavily-salted water to a boil. Add the rigatoni and cook until it's ready - about 8-10 minutes.
2. While the rigatoni is cooking, add the frozen peas (still frozen), halved grape tomatoes, roughly chopped parsley, basil, and olive oil to a large mixing bowl. Stir it all around with a wooden spoon, allowing the peas to begin to thaw.
3. Drain the pasta and immediately add it to the mixing bowl full of veggies and stir it all up. Squeeze the lemon juice onto the mix (make sure you've removed the seeds from the lemons), crumble the queso fresco over top. Even though queso fresco is anything but a cheese that is traditionally mixed with pasta, I kind of love it as an alternative to more typical pasta cheeses, like parmesan, mozzarella, goat cheese, or feta. Queso fresco is firm like feta and mild like mozzarella, making it a lovely cheese for pasta served at room temperature. Add salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste.
4. Here's the sneaky part of the dish: Adding a poached egg to each serving. I'm a big believer in eggs on pasta. Eggs are a lovely way to add protein and substance without having to cook meat or fish. If you don't know how to poach an egg (yet), don't be intimidated. It's actually really easy. Fill a sauté pan with about an inch deep of water. Add a teaspoon of salt (some people also add a couple of teaspoons of white vinegar) and bring to a simmer. Carefully crack and gently drop the egg into the center of the softly boiling water and allow the egg to cook for five minutes. Don't disturb the egg during the five minutes. Let it do it's thing. Once time is up, use a slotted spoon to remove the egg and place it on top of a serving of the pasta.
Break the egg and let the hot yolk run all over the rest of the dish. Enjoy.