I won’t go into the dreary details of two nights spent in Frankfurt Airport where a freak storm stranded over 7000 passengers except to say that if a contest were held First Prize would be one night in Frankfurt Airport and Second Prize would be two nights in Frankfurt Airport. It’s an old joke but one I actually lived through. And survived. Not only that, I even discovered a recipe I wanted to share with you the minute I got home.
If there’s one thing that I truly enjoy about long airline flights from foreign destinations is my exposure to publications I would not see otherwise. In this case, it was the weekend edition of the Financial Times, truly one of the world’s great newspapers. Its name is a bit of a misnomer as it is not all about Finance. In fact, it’s Life & Arts section is every bit as powerful as its grasp of the Financial world. Here you’ll find articles on everything from Food and Drink to House and Home. The issue I became enamored with included articles on “Why drink is the secret to humanity’s success” (Indeed!) and “How I came to love the N(ational) H(ealth) S(ervice)” and “Why America is the world’s genteel giant” (Complete fiction, but never mind). And then there was “Play it Cool”, the work of a Middle Eastern husband and wife who run a café/dining room noted for its “colourful salads, pastries, mezzes and teas” called Honey & Co. (25 Warren St. Fitzrovia, London W1T 5LZ Phone +44 20 7388 6175.)
Apparently, Middle Eastern food writers are all the rage in London. Yotam Ottolenghi holds forth on the pages of The Guardian. Israeli-born Sarit Packer and husband Itamar Srulovich preside over a weekly recipe in the Financial Times. In today’s recipe, the pair take advantage of perfect seasonal cookingwhen tomatoes reached the peak of flavor. Their object is to make something at a time when Europe is sweltering. It certainly was everywhere I went. Given the singular lack of air-conditioning in most homes, the essence of this dish is to keep the heat down to boiling a pot of water for the pasta. Everything else is stone cold. In fact, you should make this dish and chill it for at least an hour, if not a whole day, before topping hot pasta of your choice – linguine, spaghetti, fettucine or fusilli – with this cold sauce. Of course, the first bites are a contrast of cold and hot. Then the pasta warms the sauce and the cheese melts, the herbs and oil and vinegar give off their scents. The dish changes as you eat for a wonderfully sensual experience. One word of caution: The recipe calls for 2 cloves of Garlic. If you are a garlic lover, you will be in heaven. However, raw garlic is not to everyone’s taste. You may want to omit it altogether. There’s so much flavor going on here, I don’t think you’ll miss it. By the way, Financial Times is offering On-Line delivery for $1.90 a week at https://www.ft.com/
Because I am great fan of Laura Chenel’s goat cheese, that’s what I used in my cold sauce. Other options the Honey & Co couple recommend range from creamy ricotta to ricotta salata or even pecorino. You just want a cheese with a punch. Here is the recipe:
Hot Pasta with Cold Tomato Sauce
A delicious summer pasta dish which combines fresh tomato flavors with a bevy of herbs, capers and cheese
- 300g good quality pasta (we used linguine but fettucine, spaghetti or fusilli work equally well)
- Plenty of salted boiling water
- For the sauce:
- 800g (2 lbs.) nice plump tomatoes
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced—see caution above.
- 1 tbs dried oregano
- 1 tbs capers
- Small bunch parsley, chopped
- 45g (1 1/2 Oz.) Laura Chenel’s Goat Cheese, crumbled
- Or grated ricotta salata, aged pecorino
- 2 tbs red wine vinegar
- 3 tbs olive oil
- ½ tsp sugar
- 2 tsp flaky sea salt
- Step 1 Start by making the sauce.
- Step 2 Chop half the tomatoes into as small a dice as you can, skin and all.
- Step 3 Cut the remaining tomatoes in half and grate on the cut side so that you are left with the skin in your hand, and the pulp goes into a bowl.
- Step 4 Discard the skin and combine the grated tomatoes with the tomato dice.
- Step 5 Add all the remaining ingredients, except for the cheese, for the sauce and mix well.
- Step 6 Set in the fridge to cool down (you can even do this the day before serving).
- Step 7 When ready to serve, boil a large pot of water and season with plenty of salt.
- Step 8 Cook the pasta according to the manufacturer’s instructions, then strain, transfer to a bowl and top with the cold sauce topping it with cheese at the last minute. Eat as soon as possible with a crusty roll to sop up every bit of sauce.