Friday, September 4, 2015

Heirloom Caprese Pasta - Caity

Of all the plants I grow, tomatoes are by far my favorite. I love coming home to see the bush covered in bright little dots, waiting to be picked and eaten. Even the smell of a tomato plant is wonderful! During tomato season, I eat tomatoes with every meal: pan fried tomatoes with breakfast, tomato sandwich for lunch, and Caprese with dinner. I am a very happy eater during tomato season! 

On the flip side, tomato season can become overwhelming. In May, it may have seemed like a really good idea to buy all those cute little tomato plants. But now, in September, they are overflowing with ripe little tomatoes nagging you to be picked. Meanwhile the ones you picked earlier this week cover every surface of your counter and the fruit fly population threatens to conquer the house. It's a love hate relationship sometimes. I hear you. 

This recipe is a most wonderful recipe because you can use your beautiful little cherry tomatoes (especially those from the really cool plant you just HAD to buy in May) to make a delicious meal. This is one of Brendan and my favorite go-to meals when we are both hungry and lazy. It is one of the few meatless meals I can get away with making without Brendan saying "it would have been better with chicken", which is really saying something! It is really fast to make and in the summer time, you are likely to have these ingredients in your kitchen. The recipe comes from one of my favorite cookbooks, "Modern Mediterranean", by Melia Marden. I only make one change and that is to add the mozzarella while the pasta is hot so it gets all melty and gooey. Try it before tomato season is over!

Serves 4

Three years ago: Barley Greek Salad


what you'll need:

1 lb dried spaghetti 
2 pints of mixed heirloom cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
5 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
4 oz of fresh mozzarella (more to taste), cut into 1/2 inch cubes
12 large basil leaves, sliced chiffonade
6 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
3/4 tsp kosher salt
freshly ground pepper

Begin by making sure you have all of your ingredients sliced and diced and ready to go! 

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the spaghetti and cook until al dente, 8 to 10 minutes.  Drain the pasta and place in a large bowl. Toss with 1 Tbsp or so of olive oil. 

Return the pot to the stove. Heat 4 Tbsp. of olive oil and the sliced garlic over medium heat stirring occasionally until the edges are just beginning to turn golden (1 to 2 minutes). 

Add the tomatoes and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes begin to break down and release their juices but still somewhat retain their shape (about 5 minutes). 

Add the pasta to the sauce and sprinkle the mozzarella in as you toss the pasta. Drizzle with another Tbsp of olive oil. Heat until the pasta is warmed through and the cheese is just starting to get melty. 

Transfer to a large bowl. Sprinkle the pasta with the basil and freshly ground pepper to taste. Serve immediately. 

Three years ago: Barley Greek Salad
Four years ago: Corn Risotto Dip, Spam Fried Rice, Pork Carnitas and Carnitas Tacos

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