22 September 2009

The Last Bit of Summer

Since I blew my deadline this week, you might not need to hear how I've been busy lately. You may have just assumed.

Well, I have been busy, and while I'm still cooking three meals a day and snacks around here, I just don't often pause long enough to think someone else might want to know what I'm making. That's why tonight's dinner was such a relief. It was so easy that if I didn't have the dishes to do, I'd of thought I didn't make dinner at all.

It's also funny that I make this dish today, on the first day of fall. The dish is a surprisingly pleasant combination of cantaloupe, coconut milk and pasta. Melons are ripe at the end of summer and they will carry over into the beginning of fall. I still couldn't help but think this dish was a last ditch effort to celebrate what's left of the season. It also doesn't hurt that melon -- watermelon, honeydew, cantaloupe or any other variety -- is one of my son's favorite foods. Combining it with pasta was about as great of an invention as the grilled cheese in his book, I think.

The credit goes to a great cook in my 'hood. He's cooking occasionally for a restaurant down the street when he's not selling fish tacos. When I popped by recently, with no intention of having a meal, I couldn't help but order this pasta dish. I sounded strange and delicious all at once, and it was, delicious, that is.

It's originally an Italian recipe that calls for cream. He decided to swap it for the coconut milk to make it a vegan dish. It's really very simple, and I'm just going to describe the method for the sauce. You can pick the pasta it goes on. I felt inspired by the coconut milk and chose Thai rice noodles. He served it over spaghetti, a nod to the Italian version. I'd say it would also be great over plain white rice, too. And I threw some thawed frozen peas and chopped tomato just to make it interesting.

Cantaloupe & Coconut Milk Sauce

Cube half of a medium, peeled and seeded cantaloupe. Add to a medium hot saute pan with a drizzle of olive oil. Cook for a couple of minutes, just until melon begins to turn tender and fragrant. Add one can of coconut milk and whisk in one tablespoon of tomato paste. Bring to a simmer and season as needed with salt and pepper. Let simmer for about four to five minutes and remove from heat. Toss with cooked pasta and serve. Of course you could absolutely stay true to the Italian version and use cream instead of coconut milk. Either way, I don't think you'll be disappointed.

1 comment:

d.e. hovde said...

I don't like cantaloupe, but I love pasta and coconut milk. I am tempted to try your dinner, thinking two positives will outdo a negative ....???