I’ve moved (again). It’s hardly considered moving when you can fit all of your stuff into a backpack and a tote bag, call a taxi, and switch homes in a matter of minutes. I changed apartments three times in Colombia. Now onto the second space in Mexico.
Living with a host family had its ups and downs. While my family cooked the most delicious frijoles refritos, filling memelas and rich cremas, I did miss being in the kitchen, putting together my own meals. I loved speaking Spanish with my host family. But after four months, it’s a little uncomfortable to feel like a guest in your own home, to always be texting about curfews, and to find yourself locked out at 3 a.m.
I’ve moved into an apartment with four other teachers. This means fewer TV shows and more music, less agua de papaya, and more limes squeezed into cold beers.
Here’s the meal plan: Ingredients are fresh, food is cheap, and jalapeños are soaked in tequila. Oh, and as long as its mango season, we’re eating mangos. Seriously, do as you’re told. Everything you need for this pasta salad costs about 35 pesos (or two dollars) at a vegetable market down the street. We’re using canned corn (breaking the fresh rule, I KNOW, OKAY, SORRY) because it’s actually cheaper (at 8 pesos) than buying four ears worth ( at 15).
We’re using a jalapeño because, hello, this is Mexico. And mango is it’s best friend, coming to the immediate rescue in the heat department. Red onion and roasted corn are a no-brainer summer combination, cucumber adds some crunch, and everything (everything) tastes better with lime.
We’re going to chop it all up real small – I’m talking chiquitito – so that you nearly get a piece of every veggie in each bite. And we don’t want to overwhelm the munición pasta with too-large chucks. This pasta is baby pasta. Try to be delicate with it. Sing it a lullaby as it cools.
Mini Mango Pasta Salad
Makes one family-sized bowl (fit for five normal people or three hungry roommates)
What you’ll need:
- 1 package munición pasta (200 g) (or any other tiny pasta will do)
- 1 can (230 ounces) corn, drained and rinsed
- 1 jalapeño, diced
- 1 cucumber, diced
- 1 red onion, diced
- 1 mango, sliced AND diced
- juice of 4 limes
- 1 tbsp olive oil, plus some for sautéing
- handful of fresh basil leaves, torn
- salt and pepper to taste
Ready that lil’ pasta: Let’s boil some water. You’ve done this before. You got this. Cook those munición guys for just about 5 minutes. (They’re quick and we do not want to deal with mushy pasta).
Sauté: Heat oil in a pan over medium heat. Sauté the corn with the jalapeño until everything browns just a bit.
Chop: Add the cucumber and red onion to a large bowl. When the pasta and corn/jalapeño mixture cools, add those in too. Fold in the mango last.
Mix the dressing: lime juice, oilve oil, salt, and pepper. It’s simple, a little tangy, and light. Whirl it around with a fork (because you don’t have a proper whisk), and drizzle that shit over the whole salad. Stir it all about. Then fold in some basil leaves from your little plant pet. Cute shit? Cute shit.