Cooking

What's for Dinner: What a Melon

Put watermelon in your cocktail, salad and pasta tonight
Bucatini with Pork Belly and Watermelon
Photo: Tasting Table

Not feeling inspired by your usual dishes? Here's what's for dinner.

There's no arguing that watermelon is one of summer's most refreshing treats—it is 91 percent water, after all. But there are more ways to enjoy the fruit than just cutting it up and eating it by the slice. You can pickle the rind, use the flesh for its lycopene-rich juice or pour alcohol over it for a boozy treat. Pick up a watermelon tonight to make everything from a summer sipper to an innovative bowl of pasta—and be sure to host a seed-spitting competition for after-dinner amusement.

① Drink: Watermelon Agua Fuerte
Somewhere between iced tea and a margarita, Drinks Editor Jim Meehan's summer drink will give you a pleasant buzz without knocking you over. You could leave the tequila out to make a family-friendly cooler, but for Meehan, adding tequila "just makes sense."

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② Appetizer: Watermelon Salad with Vidalia Onion Vinaigrette
The salad comes together on individual plates, making it a simple upgrade to ordinary slices of watermelon. Sliced avocado, crumbled chèvre and pieces of basil get layered on top of thick watermelon hunks before being dressed with a drizzle of zingy but sweet onion vinaigrette.

③ Main Course: Bucatini with Pork Belly and Watermelon
When you think "long strands of pasta," you're likely to expect chunky tomato sauce and thin shavings of Parmesan cheese. But chef Evan Rich thinks outside the box. So instead he braises pork belly, creates a sauce from the starch in the pasta and adds chopped watermelon for a decidedly summery feel.

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