Michael had an employee only work dinner planned this week. When I pouted, ‘What shall I have?” He suggested I have something that he would not generally eat. The light bulb lite for both of us, and together we said : “Pasta!” Ahhh how I love the magical outcome of combining eggs and flour. Its filling, satisfying, and can fit any season!
Michael, read somewhere that most humans are likely gluten intolerant. He also said pasta is POINTLESS!? I know, now you are wondering what I see in the man. If it were not for his strict and dull palate I would (and I did) carry 15#’s more than I do now. So fine, I do not order or prepare it often. Not a terrible thing for my bodies sake. And now …. Oh it is such a glorious event to have a bowl of starchy, warm, and perfectly salted farfalle pasta (also known as the friendly ‘bow-tie’ pasta) !
So I went to the store, grinning, and whistling while I picked up a bag for $1.50! I had all the other ingredients at home. I have known for a week exactly how I will prepare my special pasta meal for one.
Caprese is one of my favorite dishes. As it is for most people. The light and salty fresh mozzarella, with a sweet tomato, and licorice essence of fresh basil paired together becomes the perfect flavor combination. The ingredients are pure, simple, and can be served alone or made into a million variations; flat bread, salad, pasta, bruschetta, and on and on.
I almost always have basil, garlic, and tomatoes on hand. I also pick up (domestic) fresh mozzarella every so often from the Pittsburgh Strip District. I happened to have a half # on hand as well (which cost about $4.50- a steal!)
The best part is, this is incredibly simple. The most prep is in chopping a tomato – and hey, that’s fun!
Here is what you need:
– 1# Farfalle pasta (or any type of pasta’y pasta that you love!), cooked ‘el dente’
-1 small crate of San Marzano Tomatoes (Again, use whatever your preference may be. I love Roma’s and Campari’s for this dish as well), chopped (1/4″ size)
-5 large leaves of fresh basil, chiffonade (roll all leaves together, and slice into thin strands)
-1/2 # fresh mozzarella, cubed in the same size of the tomatoes
-3 cloves of garlic, minced (or use your lovely garlic press)
– 2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
– Coarse Sea Salt and Ground Pepper to taste
Here is what you need to do with it:
–Prepare the ingredients as stated above.
– First cook the pasta. For 1# of pasta, bring about 5 quarts of water to a rolling boil. Before adding the pasta to the water add a generous pinch of salt (more like TWO) to the water. Add the pasta, cover, and cook until the water nearly boils over (or DOES boil over, like in my case). Now remove the lid, stir occasionally, and cook for another 8 minutes. Then Drain.
– When your pasta has about 5 minutes left to cook, heat a table spoon of Olive Oil at medium high heat in a saute pan. After the heat picks up, just a minute or so, add garlic and saute for 2 minutes.
– Join your tomatoes with the garlic, plus salt and pepper. Saute at Medium heat until pasta is complete. You want the tomatoes to release a good bit of water, but you do not want them to cook down completely. This liquid is now pre-flavored and will pull the starches from the pasta to create a light garlicy gravy.
-Once you have drained the pasta, return the pasta to the pot (over NO heat). Add the garlic tomatoes, olive oil, basil, salt, and pepper. Toss.
– I wait until the pasta is slightly cooled before I add the mozzarella, and again toss. I do not want the pasta and cheese to melt and hold on to each other.
– Stir, Serve, Enjoy !
This is quick, easy, and delicious. It is reasonable in price (this recipe feeds about 2 people for $10). If you have to do pasta, this is light and does not add other processed ingredients. It also brings in fresh memories of summer, while keeping you warm on a cold winter night. Also, you can serve this hot OR cold. In fact you can serve it hot for dinner … and add the left overs to your lunch as a side of pasta salad (at which time I might dress with some balsamic vinegar) .How can you beat it!?