Okay, so it’s pasta salad, but different.
It may sound weird to tuck cantaloupe into a bowl of spaghetti, but Italians do it and you should too. That sweet melon is in contrast to a parade of tangy things—red wine vinegar, pickled peppers, and piquant pecorino. Marinated cucumbers bring tempered crunch, buttery olives a bit of umami. Served not hot, but not cold, it’s the kind of thing you want to eat outside with a glass of rosé on an late-summer evening, as much as pack in a portable container for lunch the next day.
Serves 4 as a side dish, or 2 as a main
- 8 ounces dried spaghetti
- Kosher salt
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 garlic cloves, mashed
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 Persian cucumber or 1/2 English cucumber, thinly sliced
- 1 1/2 cups diced cantaloupe
- 1/3 cup lightly packed parsley leaves
- 1/4 cup coarsely chopped pitted Castelvetrano olives
- 2 tablespoons pickled red sweet peppers (we like Mama Lil’s Sweet Hot Pickled Peppers)
- 1/4 cup coarsely grated pecorino Romano cheese
- Cook the spaghetti in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente. (They will be a bit firmer when cold, so don’t undercook them.)
- Meanwhile, whisk the olive oil, vinegar, garlic, sugar, pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Add the cucumbers and marinate 5 to 10 minutes while the pasta cooks.
- Drain the spaghetti and rinse briefly under cold water until mostly cooled but still just a little warm. Add the spaghetti to the bowl of dressing and toss to coat. Add the cantaloupe, parsley, olives, and pickled peppers and toss. Top with the pecorino and serve.