Isn’t it funny how eating a dish can make you long to be in another place? Or another season even? Id you have a sunny desire – try this recipe: Pasta salad with tomatoes, watercress and burrata.
One of the reasons to move to California, next to the great job opportunity for Mr Eats and the good food for me, was the weather. In the Netherlands, I firmly believed that our summers were way too short to really enjoy it (Yup, I’m really a Dutch!), although I really liked having very different seasons. Especially when the sun in spring for the first time warms you again and you really start to wonder how you survived living without it.
So I was really surprised last week that I suddenly hunkered for fall.
Food was to blame.
It was around lunchtime. My morning had started making a huge amount of Bœuf Bourguignon, one of the French classic beef stews. It could be considered my maiden dish, as it was the first meal I made as an instructor at a culinary studio where I started to work the day before. Our customers had to cook their own desert, I prepped the stew. So you probably can imagine that I was happy that it turned out to be very good. But another strange feeling came upon me: I l got an appetite for fall.
Green leaves turning yellow and red. Digging up your scarf and gloves. Turning on the fireplace and candles to brighten up the long dark nights. Never leaving the house before wondering if you’re going to need your umbrella. That kind of fall came upon me when I took a bite of this dish.
Odd, as the weather outside was sunny, warm, like it is right now when I write this. Hardly can believe anymore, I actually got those feelings that day. Expect for the fall dishes (read: stew, stew, stew), fall can wait – if you ask me. And thankfully it may take a while as the weather still asks for sunny, light dishes.
When I think of summer, I think tomatoes. Hurray for the tomato season here in the Bay Area that lasts until October. Let’s hope the weather stays accordingly!
RECIPE PASTA SALAD WITH TOMATOES, WATERCRESS AND BURRATA [vegetarian]The secret of a good pasta salad – to me – is a lot of ingredients. The watercress gives the dish a nice, green, slightly bitter taste and is not so omnipresent as basil would be. The cucumber and bell pepper provide the necessary crunch and the olives balance it all with their tangy pungent flavors. But the star players are the very very very ripe tomatoes and the soft burrata.
You need (for 2):
120 gr pasta
6 ripe tomatoes
1/2 bunch of watercress
1 burrata *
1 small cucumber (Persian or half an English)
1/2 red bell pepper
4-8 sun-dried tomatoes (in oil, depending on their size)
1/4 cup of your favorite olives
1/2 ripe avocado
salt + pepper
* Burrata is an Italian, mozzarella style of cheese, with a more soft inside thanks to the cream that is added during the cheese making process. This gives burrata it’s very soft texture and makes this cheese a great substitute if you can’t get very fresh mozzarella.
Cook the pasta. Bring a pan with water to boil, salt it generously (or add some vegetable stock paste) and cook the pasta until done to your taste. Sieve, do the pasta in a large bowl and stir in some olive oil to prevent the pasta from sticking to each other. Let cool down.
Cut. Tomatoes in pieces almost as big as the chosen pasta. Cucumber and bell pepper may be smaller, about one-third in size. Chop the sun-dried tomatoes and olives.
Mix. But mash the avocado first and stir in the pasta. Now add all other ingredients, and extra olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.
If you don’t have a very ripe avocado, just cut it into small pieces.
If you like some meat in it, I would suggest some soft salami, cut into very small cubes.