Every now and then this summer I went back inside to make a pasta dish figuring that if the only thing on the range was a pot of water I might survive the heat. In these cases I tried to stick to "no-cook" sauces or at least sauces requiring little additional cooking. Here are a few examples:
From the Gourmet cookbook I tried Pasta with Arugula Puree and Cherry Tomato Sauce. Arugula goes nicely with pasta and this sauce had a distinct flavor. I like the way the cherry tomatoes look on top. A good dish with a nice visual flair.
An old stand-by from when I was a new husband is the "365 Ways to Cook Pasta" cookbook. The collection of no-cook pasta sauces are nice and quick and perfect for the summer. This pasta with artichoke's, Kalamata olives, and roasted red peppers relies on canned products but if comes together nicely and really pops with flavor.
July's Bon Appetit magazine had a Pasta with Shrimp and Cilantro Lime Pesto that was a wonderful summer dish. It calls for tequila, and since the bottle was out... I did serve this with BA's Chilled Watercress-Spinach Soup and this was quite a special dinner on the patio.
I veered off for a few nights into roast chicken and pasta combinations that included Chicken Orzo Salad with Goat Cheese, and Roasted Chicken and Bow-Tie Pasta Salad, both from myrecipes.com. The trick to keeping these simple is in the roasted chicken. If your supermarket has a salad bar, get the cooked chicken from there. If they have prepared roasted breasts (cooked on premises) get the chicken there. As a last result I suggest Perdue roasted chicken sold in 9 oz. packs. A bit process-flavored but it will do in a pinch. Look, you could always roast your own if you have an air-conditioned kitchen.
So there you have it, a handful of summer pasta ideas that all taste great, are easy to prepare, and if you serve them out of a nice large serving platter, look summery and impressive.