This time of year it’s way too hot to make a hot pasta and a hot sauce, but you don’t have to. While your pasta boils, mix a few flavorful ingredients. Think ricotta, Parmesan and garlic, freshly chopped tomatoes with canned tuna or white beans. It’s the best way I know to beat the heat…and enjoy a great meal.

Pasta and Broccoli with Creamy Ricotta Sauce
Serves 4

1 to 1 1/2 pounds broccoli (1 large head), cut into small florets, stems peeled and sliced thin
12 ounces bite-size pasta such as penne
Salt
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
3 ounces (about 6 slices) prosciutto, minced
2 cups part-skim ricotta
1/2 cup grated Parmesan, plus extra for passing

Prepare broccoli. Meanwhile, bring 2 quarts of water and a generous sprinkling of salt to boil in a large soup kettle. Add pasta and, using back-of-the-box times as a guide, cook partially covered and stirring frequently at first to prevent sticking, until just tender. Add broccoli to the boiling pasta the last 5 minutes of cooking. Set colander over a large bowl and drain pasta, reserving cooking liquid; return pasta to the pot, stirring in garlic, basil, pepper, and prosciutto, until fragrant. Stir in ricotta, Parmesan, and enough hot pasta cooking liquid to form a creamy sauce. Serve, sprinkling each portion with extra Parmesan.

Pasta and Fresh Tomato Sauce with Tuna and Feta
Serves 4

1 pound vine-ripe tomatoes, cut into a small dice
Salt
12 ounces bite-sized pasta, such as penne
2 cans (5 ounces each) tuna packed in oil, not drained
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 cup capers
4 ounces ( about 1 cup) crumbled feta, plus extra for passing
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Prepare tomatoes and transfer to a medium bowl; sprinkle lightly with salt.

Meanwhile, bring 2 quarts of water and a generous sprinkling of salt to boil in a large soup kettle. Add pasta and, using back-of-the-box times as a guide, cook partially covered and stirring frequently at first to prevent sticking, until just tender. Drain and return to pot.

Add tuna, garlic, oregano, capers, feta, and parsley to tomatoes; toss to coat. Add tomato sauce to pasta; toss to coat again. Serve, sprinkling each portion with additional feta.

Pasta and Fresh Tomato Sauce with White Bean and Olives
Serves 4

1 pound vine-ripe tomatoes, cut into a small dice
Salt
12 ounces bite-sized pasta, such as penne
1 can (16 ounces) white beans
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for passing
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Prepare tomatoes and transfer to a medium bowl; sprinkle lightly with salt.

Meanwhile, bring 2 quarts of water and a generous sprinkling of salt to boil in a large soup kettle. Add pasta and, using back-of-the-box times as a guide, cook partially covered and stirring frequently at first to prevent sticking, until just tender. Drain and return to pot.

Add beans, garlic, cheese, basil, olives, and oil to tomatoes; toss to coat. Add tomato sauce to pasta; toss to coat again. Serve, sprinkling each portion with additional Parmesan.