In her new cheese guide, Laura Werlin describes this as a "cross-cultural affair," with its cumin, Pecorino Romano cheese, triple-creme cheese, corn and jalapeno peppers. Sweetness and creaminess smooth the spiciness.
- 1 medium white or yellow onion
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 8 to 10 tomatillos, hulled and quartered (about 3/4 pound)
- 1 pound pattypan or yellow squash, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 3 small jalapeño peppers, stemmed, seeded and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 cup corn kernels, about 1 cup from 2 cobs (may substitute 1 cup frozen corn, defrosted)
- 7 ounces St. Andre, Explorateur or other triple-creme cheese
- 8 ounces dried fusilli pasta
- 3/4 cup finely chopped cilantro leaves, plus a few whole sprigs for garnish
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano, aged Asiago or other hard cheese
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly grease the foil with nonstick cooking oil spray.
Cut the onion in half crosswise, then cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch chunks. Separate the chunks into pieces.
In a large bowl, combine the oil, onions, tomatillos, squash, jalapeno peppers, 2 teaspoons of the salt and 1 teaspoon of the cumin. Spread the vegetables in an even layer on the baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes. Add the corn, stirring to combine; roast for 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft and caramelized around the edges. Transfer to a large bowl and set aside.
Remove the rind from the triple-creme cheese; cut the cheese into 1/2-inch pieces.
Meanwhile, in a large (at least 4-quart) pot, bring 2 quarts of water and the remaining tablespoon of salt to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta cooking water and drain the rest. Add the pasta to the vegetable bowl along with the St. Andre, Explorateur or other triple-creme cheese, the remaining 1 teaspoon of cumin and 1/4 cup of the reserved pasta cooking water. Working quickly, mix the ingredients until most of the cheese has softened. Add the cilantro and mix well. If the mixture seems dry, add 2 tablespoons at a time of the remaining pasta cooking water. Divide the pasta among individual plates; garnish with the grated cheese and cilantro sprigs. Serve immediately.
Adapted from "Laura Werlin's Cheese Essentials" (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2007).
Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.
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