Oh god, cotija cheese is so good. It’s a crumbly, hard, mild-tasting Mexican cheese that I first discovered a few years ago, when Francesca took me to a place on the Lower East Side called Cafe Habana that specializes in cotija-covered corn (a.k.a. Mexico City Street Corn), and – despite my insistence that I do not like things that have red things (in this case, chile powder) sprinkled on them because red sprinkly things are often spicy, and another thing I do not like is anything spicy – she force-fed it to me.
And it was a terrible, horrible idea. Because what happened next was that I started making this cotija cheese-covered corn (albeit with paprika subbed in as the obligatory Red Sprinkly Thing, because paprika is not spicy) every freaking time it was humanly possible, including every single night during the summertime. And that is a lot of cheese (and mayonnaise).
All things in moderation, yeah yeah yeah…but GOD IT IS GOOD. (This is an “F moderation” situation. I love those.)
Anyway, I have discovered another use for cotija cheese, and this one involves pasta, which is obviously like the joining together of angelic deities for the good of humanity. Cheese! Pasta! An excellent idea in any and all cases. (This recipe also doesn’t make very much sense, because it’s got Greek influences and Italian influences and Mexican influences, but whatever: let’s just label it “fusion” and call it a day, and then get down to the important part, which is Eating All The Cheesy Pasta.)
FARFALLE WITH COTIJA CHEESE & OLIVES
What You Need:
- 1 box dried pasta of choice, prepared according to package directions
- 1 cup cotija cheese, cut into cubes
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1/2 cup black olives, sliced
- Large handful fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
- Olive oil
- Sea Salt
What You Do:
Combine first five ingredients, and toss with olive oil and sea salt to taste (and pepper, if you want, but I don’t like pepper). (Red pepper flakes would be good in this dish too, if you’re into that kind of thing, but again, I’m not. See: Red Sprinkly Things That Are Frequently Spicy, above)
Serve cold on a hot, hot day.