Friday, June 20, 2008

Linguine with cantaloupe, cherry tomatoes and mint

This recipe has so many strings attached that I'm de-virginizing my label options [finally] and putting it under "high-maintenance recipes". The naughty tuscan melon from yesterday was so unbelievably good last night in a recipe created by Giuliano Hazan that I dreamt of growing melons. Uhhh, I meant to say, I dreamt of becoming a melon grower.

The link's recipe has an immediate typo. In the ingredient list, it asks for 1 tomato paste? As I am still unable to read minds very well, at that point I figured on making a few changes so that I could call it my own. The two most important tricks to the success of this recipe is that [1] the cantaloupe/muskmelon must be super sweet and flavorful. Taste it. If your melon sucks, no amount of sweetener will help make it better. And [2] forget using calorie-saving substitutes. NO. So there's butter, heavy cream, parmigiano - this is a rich, sensuous pasta dish, yet for some reason it left me feeling quite positive in the knowledge that I contributed toward my 5 a day. And you know, it's not like you're going to eat this stuff everyday anyway.

Recipe (serves 4)

Linguini or egg tagliolini/tagliatelle for 4 persons (1 pound)
2 - 3 tablespoons butter
4 cups of 1/4-inch dice fresh, sweet cantaloupe
1 cup fully ripe cherry tomatoes, quartered (better if you can get datterino tomatoes)
2/3 cup heavy cream
Salt (best if fleur de sel) and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Grated parmigiano to garnish
10 large fresh mint leaves, cut into chiffonade
1/2 lemon

1. Begin by cooking the pasta. In the meantime, make the sauce.

2. In a heavy skillet, melt the butter over medium heat and add the diced cantaloupe. Lower heat and saute until the fruit begins to caramelize. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

3. Stir in the tomatoes and cook for a minute or so, then add the heavy cream and continue to cook until thickened and reduced; about 5 minutes. When the pasta is ready, drain thoroughly and add to the cantaloupe sauce. Stir to combine completely and divide into 4 portions.

4. Give a light squeeze of lemon over the pasta (this helps balance out the richness), sprinkle with grated parmigiano and garnish with mint. Serve immediately.