Warm Pasta Salad

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Warm Pasta Salad with Roasted Corn and Poblanos
Maggie Norris
Yields: 4 side servings

2 chicken breasts
2 poblano chiles (1/2 lb)
4 medium tomatoes (1 lb), coarsely chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1/8 cup green (hulled) pumpkin seeds
2 ears fresh corn, kernels cut off
1/2 large white onion, cut into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 cup olive oil
6 oz short pasta such as gemelli or rotini
3/4 cup crumbled queso fresco (Mexican fresh cheese) or ricotta salata cheese

Garnish: fresh cilantro leaves

Season chicken breasts on both sides and grill until oooked through.  Chop and transfer to a large serving bowl.

Lay chiles on their sides on a metal rack set over grates of gas burners set on moderately high. (Or broil chiles on rack of a broiler pan about 2 inches from heat.) Roast chiles, turning them with tongs, until skins are blackened, 5 to 8 minutes.  Transfer chiles to a bowl, then cover and let steam 10 minutes.

Peel poblanos and discard seeds and ribs, then coarsely chop. Add chiles to chicken and stir in tomatoes and herbs.

Toast pumpkin seeds in a dry well-seasoned 9- to 10-inch cast-iron skillet over moderate heat, stirring, until puffed and lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes (seeds will pop as they puff). Transfer seeds to a small bowl.

Add corn to skillet and dry-roast over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until browned in spots, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to tomato mixture.

Add onion to skillet and dry-roast, turning frequently, until browned but still slightly crisp. Transfer to a cutting board and coarsely chop. Stir into corn mixture.  Add cumin and stir.

Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente, then drain. Add pasta to corn mixture and toss. Season with salt and sprinkle with pumpkin seeds and cheese. Serve warm or at room temperature.