Cleaning out the Fridge

August 23, 2011

By the time you read this post, I will be long gone.  It’s the end of August and that means, every other year, that we are in Sun Valley with my parents.  This is a sweet trip for me.  I have been going to that lovely mountain town since I was 11 years old.  When I was younger, it was hot days and cold nights, hours spent at the pool, horse back riding, river rafting, time spent with camp friends, and teenage boys who were my crushes.  Nowadays it is hot days and cold nights, hours spent at the pool, going on slides at the playground, splashing in the town fountain, time spent with my family, and very young boys who are my children.  My life has changed plenty, Sun Valley is mostly the same.

Leaving town means leaving a refrigerator and that means doing your very best to make sure that refrigerator is next to empty.  I had some goodies to use up and I came up with a truly delicious pasta to do so.  I see posts like this frequently and I wonder, why on earth would I make your dish?  I am never going to have those same odds and ends on hand.  But this is a dish worth shopping for.  As Spencer, my four-year-old, is fond of saying, “For reals life.”

Orecchiette with Roasted Tomatoes and Corn

Dana Treat Original
Serves 3-4

The inspiration for this dish was ingredients on hand, plus a long-ago cut out recipe for a pasta with Brie cheese to make it creamy.  It is best to remove the rind in this dish.  If you Brie is super soft, just pop it in the freezer for about 10 minutes and it will slice right off.  I also had a blue cheese in the refrigerator and I contemplated using that in the pasta instead of the Brie.  Finally, the “stuff” to pasta ratio is high here – you could bulk up the pasta to feed more people and leave the “stuff” the same.

2 cups cherry tomatoes
Olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large shallot, finely diced
1 tbsp. fresh thyme leaves
1½ cups fresh corn kernels (from 1 large cob)
2 ounces Brie cheese, rind removed, cut into ½-inch cubes
½ cup fresh basil leaves, torn
8 ounces orecchiette

Preheat the oven to 400ºF.  Place the cherry tomatoes on a small baking sheet and drizzle with a bit of olive oil.  Sprinkle with a pinch of kosher salt and a few grinds of pepper and, using your hands, mix well.  Pop in the oven and roast for 20 minutes.  Remove and scrape into a large bowl.

Meanwhile, heat a medium skillet over medium heat.  Pour in just enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan and add the shallots along with a large pinch of salt.  Sauté, stirring frequently, until soft, about 4 minutes.  Stir in the thyme, followed by the corn.  Continue to cook until fragrant and the corn is soft, about another 3 minutes.  Remove and scrape the corn mixture into the same bowl with the tomatoes.  Put the cheese and the basil in there as well.

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.  Pour in the orecchiette and cook until al dente, according to the package directions.  Taste to make sure.  Using a slotted spoon, scoop the pasta into the bowl with the other ingredients.  Stir gently, adding some of the pasta water if it seems to dry.



  1. I make roasted corn/tomato pasta w/ Jersey produce weekly, but never thought to add brie…..I may add mozzarella next time.

    Enjoy the family trip, sounds wonderful!

    Comment by stacey snacks — August 23, 2011 @ 12:33 pm

  2. I adore using Brie to make a creamy pasta sauce. I do it often with just tomatoes and basil, but I’ll have to try this combo. Have a great trip!

    Comment by Clara — August 23, 2011 @ 5:42 pm

  3. I could cry. this is…exactly what I want to eat every day…indefinitely. BRIE. and CORN. and ROASTED TOMATOES. I could totally have these odds and ends in my fridge.

    Have fun on your trip, love!

    Comment by Joanne — August 23, 2011 @ 6:53 pm

  4. Love everything about this salad. Don’t you just love summer? Enjoy your trip!

    Comment by Maria — August 23, 2011 @ 7:29 pm

  5. I love these going-on-holiday using-up posts! (‘Cause I’m always doing it myself!) Brie in pasta? My kind of recipe. Mmmmm …

    Happy holiday!

    Comment by Amanda@Easy Peasy Organic — August 23, 2011 @ 9:33 pm

  6. Looks delicious. And my 5 year old says ” is that in the real world mama?”

    Comment by Charlotte — August 24, 2011 @ 5:09 am

  7. Great flavor combination; love cleaning out the fridge meals. Always so inspiring!! I do them once a month before restocking the staples!

    Comment by Chez Us — August 24, 2011 @ 3:28 pm

  8. I love clean out the fridge meals and this one looks delicious. The corn and roasted tomatoes? Perfect! Enjoy your holiday!

    Comment by kickpleat — August 26, 2011 @ 5:57 am

  9. This indeed sounds like a dish worth shopping for! I love how the corn and melted brie catch in the orecchiette. Hope you’re having a great time in Idaho.

    Comment by lisaiscooking — August 26, 2011 @ 8:28 pm

  10. […] I’m not sure what I’ll do with these veg, though Dana‘s Orecchiette with Roasted Tomatoes and Corn seems like a good place to start. I’ve also got some granola on my “to make” […]

    Pingback by Late Summer Veg – A cooking blog - Kitchenist — August 29, 2011 @ 9:18 am

  11. Dana, I still remember the pasta dish you made in college, or after? at your house in Mercer? with cubes of mozzarella melting and creating long strings of goodness throughout; something we Italians felt was too radical to do on our own. To this day everytime I make a similar dish I think fondly of you with my full and satisfied belly. Hope you had a fabulous vacation!

    Comment by Darcie — September 2, 2011 @ 9:30 pm

  12. I love having more “stuff” and less pasta. And the stuff you’ve added sounds just perfect.

    Comment by Ashley — September 12, 2011 @ 11:20 pm

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