“Dinner Rush” is a delicious and time-savvy source for meal ideas and recipes that get you from the express lane to the dinner table without breaking a sweat. Dinner just got simpler with inspiration that combines some everyday pantry items with only five (or six) ingredients.
Hit up a local farm stand this time of year and try – just try – to avoid walking out with your body weight in corn and tomatoes. I dare you. What to do with such a bottomless supply of the season’s best bounty? A next-to-no-cook dinner works for me.
Being the huge fan of pasta that I am (and I know I’m not alone on this one), it’s my go-to choice for an easy and delicious weeknight dinner. Taking advantage of the beautiful bounty afforded by the farms and markets that pepper my neighborhood, a handful each of tomatoes, corn and basil need just a little boost from my pantry to make a meal that requires almost no cooking.
Since the corn and pasta are the only ingredients in this dish that need to be cooked, the secret to this one-pot wonder is calling the pasta’s boiling water in to play double duty. Cut the corn cobs into two or three smaller pieces, give them a quick dunk in the pot, then cook off the pasta while you prep all the remaining ingredients. You’ll have dinner, which barely took any cooking effort at all, on your plate in the time it takes to boil pasta – literally.
SUMMER FARMER’S MARKET PASTA
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Total time: 25 minutes
2 ears corn, shucked and cleaned, cut into two or three pieces
1 pound short-cut pasta, such as penne or gemelli
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
8 ounces refrigerated crabmeat (whichever grade you like), picked clean of shell pieces
15 leaves basil, roughly chopped or torn
3 to 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup shaved pecorino cheese
Place a large pot of salted water over high heat to boil.
Drop the corn into the boiling water and cook until bright yellow and tender, 5 minutes. Remove the corn to a plate and let cool. Drop the pasta into the boiling water and cook to al dente, according to package directions.
While the pasta is cooking, add the tomatoes, crab and basil to a large mixing bowl. When the corn is cool enough to handle, cut the kernels off from the cobs and add them to the bowl.
When the pasta is ready, drain it well and add it to the mixing bowl with the vegetables and crab. Drizzle in the oil, season with salt and pepper, then toss well to combine. Serve the pasta warm or at room temperature garnished with the cheese.
Note: This pasta is great served up as a cold salad for lunch or at a barbecue the next day. The pasta tends to absorb any liquid or oil after resting overnight, so if you’re going to serve it the next day, toss in a few drizzles of olive oil to bring the dish back to life.
Patrick W. Decker’s life revolves around food. Always has, probably always will. As a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America and past member of the culinary team for Food Network stars like Rachael Ray, Sandra Lee and Paula Deen, he now works as a food stylist and producer in NYC by day, and a food writer and recipe developer at his home in New York’s Hudson Valley by night. You can see what he’s up to by following his latest Tweets on Twitter at @patrickwdecker or visiting his website at patrickwdecker.com.