Wednesday, August 01, 2012

a glorious summer pasta




It's August 1st.  Are you kidding me…already?  August has always been such a memorable and cherished month for me.  Growing up it meant 4 weeks of historic Saratoga Race Track, selling lucky pencils for 5 cents - with a hot tip on the daily double (what a great deal!), hot summer days spent with friends at Saratoga Spa Pool, popsicles sitting with my siblings on our front porch, I could go on and on.  This date; however, is even more special, it is my best friend's birthday! ...and I'm so blessed, that my best friend is also my sister.  Donna and I are Irish twins, and for the next 11 days, we are the same age until I become one year older.  Happy Birthday to my dear sister, Donna!  I knew she would love this recipe, so this is for you, Don!  Cheers!






My summer tomato obsession continues from the beautiful heirloom tomatoes and the succulent caprese salad, on to the sweetest, juiciest cherry tomatoes, also of the heirloom variety, and an incredible summery pasta!  I can only be thankful that this recent craving of mine, is a healthy one…otherwise, my bathroom scale would be going crazy.

I found this glorious summer pasta recipe a couple years ago from Alexandra's Kitchen, printed it out, and tucked it away in my "have to try" recipe file.  When I finally got around to making it, there has been no stopping me since, and I couldn't wait to share!  It is one of the most delicious pasta dishes, with a divine summer feeling and freshness; hence, the name. This creation is just as delicious cold, as it is hot off the stove…and a nicely chilled bottle of Pinot Grigio is the absolute perfect compliment.  I can imagine savoring this wonderful pasta, dining alfresco in a charming garden or sunny vineyard!

The original author tells what a huge hit it was every summer, served as a first course by the restaurant she worked at - as soon as the sweetest, most flavorful cherry tomatoes from the local farm came in season.






Right about now, you're probably thinking there's no way you're going to take hours out of your day to prepare this pasta, no matter how good it is. The best news yet...it is literally the simplest creation ever!  With a short preparation time of rinsing your ingredients, and cutting your cherry tomatoes in half, the hardest part is the 8 - 9 minutes watching your orecchiette pasta boil!  The cook time in your sauté pan is literally under 2 minutes.

Once you try this, I'm sure, like me, it will become one of your favorite go to summer recipes, whether it's for an evening meal after work, or a weekend dish to impress your friends!






All we need now is a delectable dessert, or a nice afternoon cake while sitting on the deck…so next post, I will bring you something sweet!!

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for all the wonderful feedback I've been receiving.  I sincerely appreciate it, and am humbled by it.  Thank you so much!

Until next time…mangia!  xox

Carol






Orecchiette with Cherry Tomatoes, Mozzarella & Basil Pesto

Serves 4 as a starter or 2 generously as an entrée

Ingredients:

1/2 lb. orecchiette pasta
kosher salt
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
8 oz. cherry tomatoes cut in half (I used 10 oz.)
2 tablespoons basil pesto (see Carol's note below)
fresh basil (see Carol's note below)
shavings of parmigiano-reggiano (optional, but definitely nice!)
fresh ground black pepper

Create the glorious summer pasta:

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Add a pinch of kosher salt.  Add pasta and cook till al dente, about 8 - 9 minutes.  (Package instructions will say longer, but the pasta will continue cooking as its tossed with the other ingredients so it's best to undercook it a little bit.)  Drain pasta.  Do not rinse.

Heat evoo in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat.  Add the cherry tomatoes into the sizzling pan and cook for 30 seconds.  Add pasta and pesto.  Cook 1 minute, stirring to coat pasta with the pesto.  Turn off the heat. Working quickly, add the mozzarella.  Stir to incorporate.  Add the fresh basil and remove from the heat.  You're done!

Divide pasta among plates or pasta bowls and sprinkle each with fresh shavings of parmigiano-reggiano.  Crack the pepper overtop and serve.  Yum!

Carol's notes:
While pasta is cooking, have all ingredients measured and ready to go into the sauté pan, since you'll be working very quickly.  As mentioned earlier, once the pasta is cooked, the entire recipe takes less than 2 minutes!

I used Wegman's Italian Classics basil pesto imported from Italy.  It is so good!  Feel free to make your own, or use a good quality purchased basil pesto.

If you have small tender basil leaves, leave them whole; otherwise, chiffonade the basil.  A visual chiffonade how-to is found here.






16 comments:

  1. What a perfect summer pasta (I feel as though I can taste it through the screen! I'd love a bowl for an alfresco dinner.

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    1. That's so funny you said that! As I was reading the post over and over, to make sure I had no errors, :), I thought the same thing. I've made it twice in two weeks and am ready to make it again! Alfresco would be the greatest!

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  2. Carol, this sounds wonderful and I'm so happy you posted this as a tribute to my birthday. You really do know me so well. Going to the Farmer's Market on Saturday to buy some of the ingredients. Can't wait to try it! Love you.

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    1. Can't wait to see what you think! Hope your birthday was wonderful! xox

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  3. I agree with Donna, making the blog a tribute to your sister. I know so well how close you two are and I am so proud of both of you. How lucky can I be.

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  4. Mama mia! I have all the ingredients on hand to make this recipe/dish tonight. You've saved my day! Found you over on Tutti Doli blog and now following you in every avenue that you've offered. Stay as sweet as mascarpone amica!

    Baci,
    roz from 'la bella vita'

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    1. Nice to meet you, Roz! What a sweet message…thank you so much! You'll have to let me know how you like the pasta! Looking forward to our paths crossing again soon!

      Ciao!
      Carol

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  5. Tried this delightful recipe and you couldn't have named this better...GLORIOUS. The fresh ingredients were excellent. A quick dish you could make any weeknight or for entertaining. Thanks for sharing Carol!!! A definite keeper!

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    1. Donna, thanks so much taking the time to tell me how you enjoyed the pasta recipe! I'm so happy you liked it! It's definitely one of my favorites! Please stop by again!

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  6. Ciao from an American in Sicily! Terrific photos and great recipe! After having moved to Italy, I began cooking a lot of Italian recipes, check out my blog! anamericaninsicily.com buona giornata!

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    1. Thank you, Wanita! This has to be one of my favorite pasta dishes! I love it!!! I just checked out your blog, it's absolutely delightful! I will definitely have to watch for some good Italian recipes from Sicily! How exciting...and congrats on your 6 years of marriage! :)

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  7. Thanks so much Carol! =)

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  8. This sounds fabulous and looks so beautiful too! Thanks for sharing!

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    1. My pleasure, Abby! Thank you for the opportunity to share...so appreciated! It fits your party perfectly - fast and easy...and it truly is delectable!!!

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Hi! Thank you so much for stopping by a cup of mascarpone, and taking the time to leave a comment! I read, smile, and cherish each and every one of them! xox

Carol