{ ricotta salata + baby spinach + charred corn chilled buttermilk pasta }

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chilled ricotta salata buttermilk salad | DisplacedHousewife

ricotta salata + baby spinach
charred corn chilled buttermilk pasta
 { a quickie }

I really wanted to get this out to you because it must be savored as much as possible before cool weather hits. It’s perfect by itself, the crowning jewel of a hot summer’s eve, or as a dazzling sidekick to some roasted shrimp, BBQ chicken or grilled steak. It has two other brag-worthy characteristics: it’s easy and you can make it ahead. It’s everything I look for in a summer meal.

Quick Notes:

  • This is adapted from a recipe in the cookbook Tom’s Big Dinners by Tom Douglas. I changed the dressing so that it’s my DH Buttermilk Dressing (that I use all of the time), threw in some charred corn and added lemon zest per my sister’s notes in the margins.
  • My sister makes this often in the warmer months…often kicking off with it at Easter and peaking around the Fourth of July. I love it when she makes it. As it stays nice and toasty here through to October, we can get some extra mileage in it around these parts. I say let’s eat it far past Labor Day this year. It’s that nummy.
  • Your add-in options are endless and not just limited to spinach and charred corn. The original recipe suggests fresh peas. Still-crisp asparagus or juicy summer tomatoes would also be nice. Toasted pine nuts would add a good bit of flavor and bite. I went for charred corn as it was easy and in abundance right now. The one item I wouldn’t swap out is the baby spinach. It is the perfect taste and texture for this salad.
  • Ricotta Salata…it’s challenging to find where I live. You can sub in another salty hard cheese, such as Pecorino. I do think, however, that the ricotta salata is worth the effort.
  • If you’re going to make this ahead, only put half of the dressing on the salad and refrigerate. Save the remainder of the dressing to gloss up the salad right before serving so that everything will be nice and moist with that first bite.
  • I served this salad with my savory scones, minus the bacon. They were deeeeelightful. I highly recommend the combo. You would be remiss not to add in some white wine to round out the menu. I had some Liquid Farm Chardonnay and it was a heavenly combo…I sat outside, watched the chickens, noshed and pretended there was a breeze in the air. Perfect.

chilled ricotta salata buttermilk salad | DisplacedHousewife

chilled ricotta salata + buttermilk salad | DisplacedHousewife

{ ricotta salata + baby spinach + charred corn chilled buttermilk pasta }

Makes About 6-8 Side Servings


For the Dressing

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt (If I’m feeling pious, I will use Greek yogurt and I don’t feel like I’m sacrificing any flavor when I do this.)
  • 1/2 cup shaken buttermilk (you will possibly need more to thin the dressing out…so make sure you have extra on hand to get it the correct drizzle consistency)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teapsoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 clove of garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 cup parsley, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chives, chopped

For the Salad

  • 1 pound of small pasta (gemelli, macaroni, etc.)
  • 3/4 cup chopped green onions (green parts only)
  • 4 ounces ricotta salata, grated
  • 5 ears fresh corn on the cob (cleaned and uncooked)
  • 5 cups baby spinach leaves (clean and dried completely)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • Salt and pepper to taste


For the Dressing

  1. If you have a high-speed blender (such as a Vitamix), put everything inside the blender except for the parsley, dill and chives. Put the blender on high and pulverize the crap out of the whole lot until it is well blended. Taste. Delicious, right?
  2. Now put the herbs in (parsley, dill and chives) and have a go on medium speed until the herbs are chopped up. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  3. *IF* you don’t have a high speed blender, put the mayo, greek/sour cream, buttermilk, lemon juice, olive oil and Worcestershire sauce in a medium-sized bowl and whisk until completely blended.
  4. Add in your seasonings (salt, pepper, paprika and cayenne). Taste. Adjust if necessary.
  5. Finely mince up your garlic clove and add to the mix. You want this to be pretty finely minced so that you don’t get a chunk of garlic in your mouth.
  6. Finally, add in your chopped herbs (parsley, dill and chives) and blend well.
  7. Chill until ready to use. I love this dressing. It’s great on any salad…perfect with chicken tenders. Just yum.

For the Salad:

  1. Cook your pasta according to the package instructions. Drain well and set aside.
  2. Char the corn over an open flame (either your stove top or on the BBQ). Use tongs to hold it over the flame and rotate frequently so that you don’t burn it. You want some nice char spots, but you don’t want it to go up in flames, so pay attention.
  3. Once the corn has been charred, hold it perpendicular to a cutting board and cut down along the sides, with a knife, releasing all of the kernels onto the cutting board.
  4. If serving immediately, add the buttermilk dressing now. If your buttermilk dressing has thickened in the refrigerator, thin with more buttermilk so that it has a drizzle consistency. You don’t want to spoon it in big globs, it needs to be thinner than that. If you are making ahead the salad ahead of time, only put half of the dressing on the salad right now.
  5. *IF* you want to serve this later, wait to add the greens until prior to serving (up to several hours before serving the entire dish can be assembled and refrigerated). So you can make this the night before, but add the greens within several hours of serving. Make sense?
  6. Add the spinach, scallions, charred corn, ricotta salata and lemon zest. Toss well. Taste. Does it need more salt? Pepper? It’s pasta, so don’t be shy with either…but do add in small increments and taste to make sure you don’t get too much.
  7. Done. It’s unbelievable easy and delicious, right? I don’t lie, my friends. This is a keeper.
{ on my mind }
  1. I am SUPER excited to be the feedfeed’s new editor of their Scone Feed.  At the start of each month I will add more gorgeous scone photos. Can’t wait. Check it out here. I’m working on a new scone recipe to celebrate and hoping to get it up by next Thursday…
  2. Because I love my peeps…they’re selling peaches, that look like butts, dressed in peach lingerie in China at ridicules prices. Go ahead, take a look. One of my Tai Tai’s sent this to me…xie xie Robin. xx
  3. Chicken Talk. We’ve got a couple of updates… First, I’m getting regular eggs now, which is exciting. Laowai still can’t get the hang of things, but considering that she is the dumbest, I can’t say I’m surprised. In other exciting news, Robin also sent me this. I think we need these. Like yesterday.
  4. Let’s talk about coconut. Why is it such a divisive ingredient? I find people either love it or hate it, and nobody is indifferent to it. What’s that all about?
  5. Ok, I’m out. Peace all. xo

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1 Comment

  • Jessica | A Happy Food Dance August 6, 2015 at 4:21 PM

    This looks insanely good – I love all your hints! And charred corn always sells me, but I loved your idea of pine nuts too! I’m am sooo trying this!