Pasta Dishes to Eat All Summer Long

Just because the weather is turning warm, don’t rush to cast off pasta. Cucina Vivo Chef de Cuisine Dayan Hartill-Law shares some pasta recipe ideas made for summer feasting.

There’s no need to ditch pasta just because it’s bikini season. Light pasta dishes brimming with seasonal ingredients are just what long, leisurely feasts on balmy evenings call for.

The menu at Cucina Vivo at The Star Gold Coast is inspired by the open-air restaurants dotted along the cliffs of the Amalfi Coast, where sun worshippers can be seen twirling pasta on their forks all summer long.

We chatted to Cucina Vivo Chef de Cuisine and bona fide pasta pro Dayan Hartill-Law to find out how he approaches pasta when the mercury starts to climb.

Chef Dayan Hartill-Law

These are his favourite summer pasta ideas.

Make tomatoes your go-to

Juicy, sun-ripened tomatoes fresh from the vine are one of the joys of summer, and an ingredient Dayan looks forward to. “Now is the time of year we should all be utilising tomatoes in our foods,” he says.

Although it’s possible to buy tomatoes year-round, Dayan insists you’re not getting the real thing from the “winter starch festival” found out-of-season. The peak of the Italian summer, Dayan says, is when you’ll find nonnas making a year’s worth of passata sauce, and Spain celebrating the chaos of Tomatina festival. In Australia right now, tomatoes are at their best: “sweet and umami rich”.

Dayan recommends preparing them simply with basil and a little chilli, or going for something a little more decadent with a creamy cheese “like Persian feta”.

Have you got your hands on a fresh tomato crop? Try Dayan’s simple tomato pasta sauce recipe.

Tomatoes growing on the vine
Use green vegetables

Summer dining calls for young, tender veggies cooked with a light hand and seasoned to perfection. Dayan recommends taking the “green path” with a classic pasta primavera.

Taking its name from the Italian alla primavera (meaning ‘in the style of springtime’), this light summer pasta typically features fresh or just-cooked veggies with a simple creamy sauce – and can be on your table in 15 minutes. The dish hails not from Italy, but from 1970s New York – at Sirio Maccioni’s legendary Le Cirque, to be exact. These unconventional origins mean that the recipe is a little more free and easy than many classic Italian pasta dishes.

Pasta primavera allows for a “little interpretation”, Dayan says. “It could be capsicum, broccoli, squash and zucchini” he suggests. “Or keep it green with asparagus, broad beans and spring peas.” Whatever you use really should come down to whatever lovely, crisp vegetables are in season.

Homegrown snow peas
Make fresh seafood an essential

It’s not just us humans that enjoy the beach weather in summer. “As it warms so does the ocean, so all those fish and shellfish that are swimming on the reef actually taste sweeter this time of year,” Dayan says.

Summer brings with it “this perfect storm of ingredients” best put to use in a simple yet decadent seafood pasta. We’re lucky enough in Australia to have a wealth of beautiful seafood at our fingertips – from king prawns to Moreton bay bugs. A favourite on the Cucina Vivo menu is the rag-style maltagliati pasta with lobster and heirloom tomatoes. Meanwhile, at Cucina Vivo’s brand-new sister venue Cucina Porto at The Star Sydney, Italian-born chef Martino Pulito will be whipping up a classic seafood linguine filled with Australian seafood.

Fresh seafood lobster
Fresh cold water lobster tails being cooked on a outdoor grill with fresh lemon juice being squeezed on the tails.

Make it for yourself: Try Dayan’s delicious pasta recipe for lobster linguini.