Summertime brings the onset of sweet, succulent melons, and one of our family’s favorite recipes is this surprisingly fresh tasting Spaghetti with Melon pasta. Pasta with melon might sound like an unlikely combination, but this dish is REALLY good. While on our European extravaganza trip, we stopped off to visit our friends Mike Yourison and Dr. Suzy Steelman in Umbria. They were kind enough to invite us to stay at their beautiful hilltop home, so the least we could do was to make dinner. They graciously accepted and thought it would be nice to invite a few of their Italian friends. We ended up having a wonderful evening with 15 people in attendance.
Giuliano thought it would be fun to make this dish and have the Italians guess what was in it. Many thought of squash due to the color, a couple thought pineapple and we had one person who guessed strawberry. After numerous tries, someone finally came up with the correct answer.
The origins of this dish are unknown. Giuliano found it when he went to a restaurant in Venice that specialized in unusual dishes, none of which were seafood or risotto, the staples of Venetian cuisine. Although the restaurant is no longer there he did remember this delicious dish of pasta with cantaloupe. Marcella started making it at home and now Giuliano often makes it when we have friends over. Once it is cooked, the melon is mostly unrecognizable and it’s great fun seeing if people can guess what the sauce’s “secret” ingredient is. The freshness of the dish is soothing on a hot evening and takes full advantage of the bounty of summer.
Giuliano made this dish for a TV segment he did. This Spaghetti with melon pasta on Daytime TV video shows you exactly how to make this lovely pasta. As in Umbria, not a bit was left in the bowl.
Spaghetti with Melon
This pasta is a great way to take advantage of the sweetness of summer\'s bounty. It is a fun way to impress your guests. It has a hint of sweetness but is not cloying.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Serves 4 People
- 3 pounds cantaloupe melon
- 3 tablespoons butter
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pound spaghetti (linguine is also good here)
- 2 teaspoons concentrated tomato paste
- 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- Fill a pot for the pasta with about 6 quarts of water, place over high heat, and bring to a boil.
- Pare away the rind of the melon, down to the orange flesh. Discard the seeds and cut the melon into 1/2” dice. Put the butter in a 12” skillet and place over medium high heat. Once the butter has melted completely, add the melon and season generously with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until the melon begins to break down and most of the liquid it releases has evaporated, about 10 minutes.
- Add about 2 tablespoons salt to the boiling pasta water, put in the spaghetti, and stir until all the strands are submerged. Cook until al dente
- Add the tomato paste and lemon juice to the melon and stir well. Add the cream and cook until it thickens and reduces by about a third, 2-3 minutes.
- Remove from the heat.