Posted by: Ernest Barteldes | August 16, 2013

Cooking Light in Summer + Cold Pasta Recipe

by Ernest Barteldes

A few summers ago, I made the mistake of trying to bake a potato-crusted quiche for breakfast. I don’t remember how the temperature was outside, but the kitchen got so unbearably hot that I started feeling out of breath and nauseated, and ended up losing my breakfast even before I started eating. I called in sick at church that day, and only felt good enough to get out of bed hours later.

That was – pun intended – a wake-up call, and from that day on I have avoided turning on my oven between mid-June until late August. That means not only a moratorium from quiches, but also lasagnas, cakes, roasted meats (I made an exception with Hawaiian Chicken in mid-June this year) or anything like that.

In addition, I also try not to prepare anything that requires too much time in the kitchen – it just gets too hot in summer to make anything too laborious, so I concentrate on grilled foods (I have an indoor grill for that), stir-fries and light dishes like salads and quick pastas that I can quickly whip up and enjoy in the comfort of our air-conditioned bedroom.

The same goes for breakfast – summer is when I make quick egg-based sandwiches with a side of fruit – I leave the baked stuff (which, sadly, we both love)for the cooler months – which makes sense since there is no real heat in our kitchen save for one of those metal tubes used for steam to travel through. Sometimes , I do indulge and head over to a local Mexican store where they make tamales on Sunday. However, that requires a very early start because

Over the years, I have collected many summer recipes from various sources, going from my sorely missed Gourmet magazine (I tried a subscription of Bon Appetit, but it just didn’t do it for me) to ideas I bump into online or by occasionally looking at the paper. One favorite is pasta and tomato toss, a very simple concoction specially made for very hot days that is basically just thin spaghetti served cold with diced tomatoes, garlic and basil – a solution if you just cannot bear having anything hot but still don’t feel like just having cold cut sandwiches.

I first prepared this dish a few years ago after <span Renata and I returned from a very sweaty evening at Summerstage in Central Park. It has since become a summer staple here, since it is not just delicious but also very easy to prepare.

Pasta & Tomato toss

(from Grandma’s Kitchen)

Serves 6


12 ounces wide noodles

2 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup whipping cream

1/4 cup chopped green onions

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 (14 1/2-ounce) can stewed

Italian recipe tomatoes, drained

Fresh basil leaves, optional for garnish


1. Cook pasta according to the package directions;

drain. Rinse with cool water; drain

2. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.

Stir in the whipping cream. Remove from heat. Add

pasta and mix well.

3. Combine the pasta mixture, green onions, chopped

basil, salt and black pepper in a
large bowl and mix


4. Add Parmesan to pasta mixture and mix well.

5. Spoon the pasta mixture into a salad bowl. Add the

tomatoes and toss lightly to mix.
Garnish with fresh

basil leav



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