Three delicious summer dishes for entertaining at home

Paul Flynn: Rich, creamy pasta, an elevated tomato salad and French bean crumble

Rigatoni, sausage meatballs, pepper cream and thyme. Photograph: Harry Weir

Rigatoni, sausage meatballs, pepper cream and thyme. Photograph: Harry Weir

 

Along with many others, we have converted a shed at home into an outside dining area. There was a bit of investment but in the end we have another space to use in the house when we have people over.

We’ve always been a good house for that. The kitchen has nearly seen as much dancing as it has eating over the years, although perhaps that’s on the wane a bit now as we hurtle towards our dotage.

I was never blessed with the going-to-bed gene, always wanting to squeeze the last few drops out of the night. I usually tread the fine line between staying up as late as I possibly can without being found out. The agitated thump of footsteps on the stairs signals an abrupt end to the music.

I get great satisfaction cooking for friends. It’s never fancy, always practical. The cooking has to be soothing and part of the enjoyment of the evening. I prefer to cook alone so I can immerse. It’s always family style, a big pot of something or other that looks impressive and generous. I don’t do small portions but I also hate waste, another fine line.

Heirloom tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella and elderflower vinaigrette. Photograph: Harry Weir
Heirloom tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella and elderflower vinaigrette. Photograph: Harry Weir

These dishes are meant to go together although they don’t have to, of course.

The rigatoni is rich; I rarely put cream in my pasta but this really calls for it. Get good sausages and roll them into balls, it won’t take long and is worth the effort.

French bean, peach and roasted almond crumble. Photograph: Harry Weir
French bean, peach and roasted almond crumble. Photograph: Harry Weir

Elderflower and tomato are lovely together. It elevates the simple salad that is all about the best ingredients. Heirloom tomatoes are wonderful, flavourful and craggy. The most important thing is the flavour. There’s nothing worse than a disappointing tomato.

I first came across the French bean salad many years ago in dear old Chapter One. Ross would separate the bean lengthways to make for finer eating but I won’t do that to you. It can be difficult to find ripe peaches, so if you can’t get them, use tinned. It will be better than unripe ones. I’ve added a little coriander seed crumble to the affair to make it my own.

Recipe: Rigatoni, sausage meatballs, pepper cream and thyme

Recipe: Heirloom tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella and elderflower vinaigrette

Recipe: French bean, peach and roasted almond crumble

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.