In the 1980’s my mother’s bible for entertaining was “The Silver Palate Cookbook.” Sheila Lukins and Julee Rosso were ever-present in my mother’s kitchen on Hoskier Road. She used their recipes to entertain effortlessly and elegantly, Ina’s ultimate goal being to spend as little time in the kitchen as possible and as much time with her guests.
One of her favorites was their “Linguine with Tomatoes and Brie.” This dish was the star of my mother’s summertime entertaining. As a little girl I would dangle my legs through the banister of the curved staircase eating bowls of it. From above, I watched my mother’s glamourous girlfriends flit below like rare, beautiful birds, their voices reverberating throughout the house. They laughed loudly on those summer Saturday nights and they always ate well.
The rare, beautiful birds.
In a dish where the flavors are complex but the preparation is easy, the sharpness and creaminess of the Brie alongside the sweetness of summer’s finest, ripest tomatoes are an unexpected, elegant twist. The best part is, you can make it hours ahead of your guest’s arrival and leave it in your air-conditioned kitchen to quietly come together on its own. My guess is that your guests will be just as quiet as they inhale it. Pair it with an arugula salad and my grilled Vidalias, pop open some ice-cold champagne or a buttery Chardonnay (shockingly, I love it even more with this menu than my beloved Sauvignon Blanc), and let summer wash over you.
If you have picky eaters (as I do), you can substitute Brie for fresh Mozzarella for a more subtle and tame combination of flavors. But I strongly suggest going for it. That melting Brie slicked over garlicky tomatoes, intertwined with strands of linguine is truly something to behold. After you take your first bite and wash it down with a cold mouthful of pale, golden bubbly, I think you’ll agree. Here’s to rare birds, here’s to summer.
The Bee’s Uncooked Pasta
- large pasta pot
- serving bowl and big serving spoons (my favorites linked below!)
- 1 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 massive ball Mozzarella the size of a newborn baby's head (hee hee hee), (for the "Silver Palate Cookbook" recipe that Ina used, substitute with 1lb of Brie cheese, triple cream preferred)
- 3 Garlic Cloves, smashed
- 6 Campari Tomatoes, cored and cubed can’t find Campari? Cherry tomatoes are your friends, too. Make sure to avoid the larger, mealier tomatoes; like Beefsteak.
- 1/2 cup Basil Leaves, loosely packed
- Kosher Salt
- Freshly Ground Pepper to taste
- 1.5 lb Pasta my mom used linguine, my kids love the following: Madden is a rigatoni guy, Dexie loves penne, and I am obsessed with my high-fiber pasta (linked below). Choose your favorite!
- Place Mozzarella or Brie in the freezer for 20 minutes to firm up. This will make it easier to cut.
- In a large serving bowl, add your rough cut tomatoes and smashed garlic.
- Roll up basil leaves together like a cigar and run your knife through them creating thin ribbons of basil. Rip your basil, and it will blacken. And no one wants blackened basil! Add to tomatoes and garlic.
- Pour olive oil over tomato, basil, and garlic mixture, seasoning generously with Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Gently fold the mixture together.
- Remove cheese from freezer and using a large chef's knife, cut Mozzarella/Brie into cubes (If using Brie, remove rind first and cut/tear into irregular pieces).
- Add cheese to olive oil mixture and stir gently to incorporate.
- Cover your serving bowl (see Jule's summertime favorites below) with a clean dish towel and allow to sit at room temperature for 2-8 hours. The longer the better.
- When you are ready to eat, cook pasta according to directions (here's my favorite high fiber pasta), drain and, while piping hot, pour pasta into your serving bowl, mixing as you go. Stir until well-combined.
- Serve immediately and sprinkle freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano generously.
Below are Jule’s favorite Uncooked Pasta must-haves & accessories!
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All illustrations by @courtneycoloring.