Thinking there might be no more opportunity to have gourmet here, the group wanted to gather for one last time. I’m hoping they are right about it being the last time at this house!
Usually, I let the table inspire the meal, but this time it happened in reverse. I wanted to have a meal with southwestern flavor, and it was no problem having a table to complement it. Out came the terra cotta church, the family handmade by Mexican artisans and a woven runner created by weavers south of the border.
Color had to be part of this table which called for plates in a variety of colors topped with handprinted bowls that are part of a favorite set of dishes gotten in Ravello, Italy. These, too, are of different colors and have different patterns.
I made napkin pockets for the flatware, and putting it in the pocket it struck me that it would be fun to have the colorful handles peeking out. Making up your own rules as you go along is what makes setting a table fun!
With the fun part done, it was time to go to the kitchen to begin the steps required for the main course.
Now you may not think of pasta being southwestern, but this one has all the right stuff, roasted peppers, cumin, cotija cheese and cilantro. The recipe is one to share.
2 red bell peppers
2 poblano chiles
1 large onion, cut into 1/2″ rounds
4 ears of corn
8 tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1 t. cumin, 2 t. minced garlic
1 1/2 c. diced smoked chicken breast
3 T. chopped cilantro
1 c. crumbled Cotija cheese
12 oz. Farfalle pasta
Roast peppers, chiles and onion on a grill or in a 400 degree oven. Turn as one side blackens. When done, put peppers and chiles in a plastic bag to cool. Chop the onions and place in a large bowl. Roast the corn and remove kernels. Add to onions
When peppers and chiles are cool, peel, seed and coarsely chop them. Add them and remaining ingredients to the bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain without rinsing and add to the bowl, mixing thoroughly. Makes 8 servings.
Having made this pasta several times, I’ve learned a few tricks that work well. Substitute frozen corn for fresh. Use a variety of yellow and orange tomatoes for added color. If you can’t find cotija cheese, goat cheese is a good alternative.
Should there be leftovers, Sonoran Pasta served over mixed greens with a vinegarette dressing makes a tasty salad.
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