There was a huge breakthrough last night here at Camp Winni.Â They pulled out the grills.Â Weinies and wings have never looked so good.Â It’s great to have food you can chew.Â On the much, much softer side, we had pasta salad.Â My advice is, try to get rid of any “I hate my job” and resentment of cooking before you start.
1.Â Throw away your Prince and Ronzoni and buy some decent pasta (I like De Cecco).
2.Â Cook it only as long as it takes to tenderize the outside.Â The inside needs to stay strong.Â As you cook the pasta, bite into a piece, and you will notice that there is a distinct white line in the middle.Â This white line should be just be beginning to fade, but still visible, and the pasta should taste like it is nearly done.Â Take the pasta off the heat, and drain immediately and thoroughly.Â Â DO NOT RINSE!Â Let the pasta cool on a sheet pan with 1 or 2 drops of olive oil stirred in (very little) and a seasoning of salt.Â (It’s important to get the salt on there while the pasta is hot.)
Last night it was spaghetti (ish) with cucumber and tomato.Â There may have been some salt free salt on there, but I’m not sure, and there was little difference between the color of the tomato bits and the color of the cucumber bits.
1.Â Be sure your tomatoes are RED and that they smell like they have been ripened in hot sunshine.Â Cut them in half, seed them by digging your hands into the cavities, and and chop.Â If you can find some gorgeous cherry tomatoes, throw some of those in as well, just slicing them in half.Â I don’t mind hot house cucumbers, but garden grown are better.Â Peel them, and chunk them (to take the seeds out or not is up to you.)Â Cut a small, tight, red onion into much smaller bits, and get a pile of flat leaf parsley chopped, and a few leaves of either fresh mint or basil.Â Pull out our best olive oil.Â Get all of this in a big bowl with the pasta and taste for freshly ground pepper and salt.Â The proportions should be two thirds pasta to one third salad.Â (or to taste)
2.Â Add enough of a decent red wine vinegar, not to taste the vinegar, but just enough to pull out the flavor of the salad.