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Pastastic 30 - Tastes of Summer
August 10, 2013

Welcome to Pastastic! - your lazily occasional hit of pure pasta pleasure.

(Difficult to read this? View it online.)

In this edition: since the temperature here in Europe has been rocketing upwards of late, I'm focussing this month on the pasta dishes you can make n' munch without breaking a sweat.

We're talking light, fresh, simple plates that do the job in the sweltering heat.

So here's to a long and scrumptious summer!

Pastastic Matt

"No one who cooks, cooks alone. Even at her most solitary, a cook in the kitchen is surrounded by generations of cooks past, the advice and menus of cooks present, the wisdom of cookbook writers." - Laurie Colwin

The Tastes of Summer

summer pasta salad

Summer Pasta Salad

Fresh n' juicy pasta salads don't get easier than this: it's basically a caprese salad with pasta spirals (fusilli) mixed through.

My tip? Buy the best mozzarella you can, preferably the more moist 'buffalo' mozza kind (mozzarella di bufala). This is made from, yup you guessed it, buffalo milk. Until you've tried this you simply haven't tasted real mozzarella. It's chin-soakingly good!

spaghetti vongole

Spaghetti con le vongole (spaghetti with cockles)

And if you find yourself by the sea this summer? You must try knocking up this fresh n' salty Italian staple.

If you can't find cockles you can replace them with small clams. Then just choose your version - the red recipe (with toms) or traditional white. Proprio buono!

asparagus pasta

'Get Fresh' asparagus pasta salad

This is one of those dishes that gives 3 ingredients equal billing since they work perfectly together. It combines fresh green asparagus ‘heads’, sumptuous soft mushrooms, and sun-dried tomatoes (for a bit of acidic bite) - all mixed through with perfectly-cooked penne. Be sure to buy all of these fresh if you can - your tastebuds will appreciate it!

ham pasta recipe

Breezy summer ham and pasta recipe

There's something about the taste of ham and peas together that I just can't explain. It's a wonderfully tasty combo. Chunky chewy mini-hunks of meat alongside the sweetness of little fresh-cooked peas is, forme, just foodie heaven - it's not complicated, it's just buono.

As with all the dishes here, considering it's summer, just serve it after standing to cool a little.

veggie pasta salad

‘Easy hour’ vegetable pasta salad

This colorful bowl full of nutritious oven-baked taste is our family's default picnic dish. It tastes wonderful warm or cold, and with its monster assortment of glorious veggies it's sooo good for you.

It's kind of like a big 'ole minestrone soup only without the liquidity. Don't forget the plastic forks!

Find of the month

If you've ever wondered which herbs you should use to flavor different veggies (I know I have)... this is the guide for you (click to enlarge it):

herbs for veggies

(I'm afraid I only have the image file for this guide, not the website address, so I can't credit the author. Whoever made it did a great job though - thanks!)

UK residents don't miss this!

Michela Chiappa - host of Channel 4's Simply Italian series which aired last Summer - will present Britain’s Top 10 Italian Dishes in a brand new More4 special tonight!

That's Saturday, August 10, at 8pm on More4. The result of a new online poll, this list includes many of the delectable Italian dishes us Brits have munched on for years, as well as some more unexpected modern versions.

And don't miss my new exclusive interview with Michela and her sisters on my site here!

5 Reader Questions

The latest pasta posers from around the world, answered by yours truly.

Can I freeze fresh homemade lasagne sheets?

My pasta sticks together when boiling!

How long to rest pasta dough

How do you make your own pasta shells to stuff?

How to thaw frozen lasagna

Get Pastastic - The Recipe Book!

pasta recipe bookIf you like the pasta recipes on my site, why not grab the digital cookbook to read offline and print my recipes when you need them?

This 125-page beast of a book (in instant download PDF format) is packed full of authentic Italian meals, including some exclusives that are not on the site, all explained in plain English using my fool-proof step-by-step guides.

In addition to versions of all my mamma-in-law's best pasta dishes, from bolognese to ragu, lasagna and many more, Pastastic - The Recipe Book also includes:

- 4 additional recipe ebooks

- my Lasagna 101 expert guide

- and... 2 series of exclusive downloadable videos (on how to make your own pasta and green pesto).

Grab your copy for just $7.95 here!

What readers say...

“Pastastic is easy easy easy! The recipes are a delight and taste delicious. Their simplicity and the wide variety is ideal for anyone who loves to cook something tasty, healthy and cheap" - Elena

"The whole package, your e-book especially, is top-quality. You really did a great job" - Penny

“Your recipe book is a treasure trove of easy-to-make dishes. You just make life simple for pasta lovers." - Maria



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Ciao for now. Until next time!


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