Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Warm pasta salad with tomatoes, mint, lemon and ricotta salata

I've never used ricotta salata before but was urged to try it the other day by Patricia Michelson of La Fromagerie. Here's what it looks like from the outside . . .

And cut side upwards . . .

It's a salted type of ricotta that's hard enough to grate . . .

Patricia suggested using it to make a simple plate of pasta with fresh tomatoes which I expected to taste like a pasta dish but tasted more like a warm salad. Which is what I've called it. Lovely, light and summery for the warm weather I'm sure we're going to have sometime this summer. Aren't we (she asks hopefully?)

Serves 2

225g penne
400g ripe tomatoes, chopped small
4 tbsp olive oil
leaves from 2 sprigs of fresh mint, torn into small pieces
rind and juice of half a lemon
75g ricotta salata, coarsely grated
salt and pepper

Bring a large pan of water to the boil, add salt and cook the pasta for the time recommended on the pack. Chop the tomatoes small and mix with the olive oil and torn mint leaves. Strain the pasta reserving a couple of tablespoons of cooking water. Return to the pan and tip in the chopped tomatoes, lemon juice and rind and reserved pasta water. Season to taste with pepper and a little salt. Serve in warm bowls generously scattered with the grated ricotta salata.

I have a feeling some lightly cooked peas would be good with this too. You could also add a few snipped chives.

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