Friday, June 17, 2011

Tomatoes, Basil and Cheese, Oh My!

      I love to find new and different recipes to try on Derrik and some friends. A few years ago Derrik's aunt had us over for an Italian dinner. Considering they had just returned from vacation in Italy we knew we were in for a treat. As she brought out a Caprese Salad I was a little hesitant, I wasn't the biggest fan of tomatoes (but after this I am a true believer.) After one bite I was hooked. Caprese Salad pretty much consists of tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese, fresh basil leaves, olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Ok if that doesn't look good enough there is also a pasta version of this if you are wanting something a little more filling. This being the actual reason I started this post I better get started.

This is a Capellini with Tomatoes and Basil recipe I found on an amazing recipe blog a bountiful kitchen. This woman is amazing and I cant wait to try more of her creations.

1/2 cup olive oil
1-2 cloves minced garlic
4 pints small cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes, halved
2-3 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves (or 1 teaspoon dried)
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
¾ pound dried capellini or angel hair pasta (fresh or dried)

1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add two tablespoons of salt to the pot.
Meanwhile, heat the ½ cup of olive oil in a large (12-inch) saute pan. Add the garlic to the oil and cook over medium heat for 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes, thyme, two teaspoons salt, ground pepper, and red pepper flakes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for five minutes, tossing occasionally, until the tomatoes begin to soften.
While the tomatoes are cooking, add the capellini to the pot of boiling water and cook for two minutes (if using fresh), or according to the directions on the package. Be careful about overcooking the pasta.  Using tongs, remove the pasta from the pot of water and add to the cooked tomato mixture in the saucepan.  Don't worry about  water on the pasta, the dish needs a little of the pasta water to have the right consistency.
Pour  the pasta and tomatoes into a large serving bowl.
Add the Parmesan and fresh basil, and toss well. 

Serve  immediately with additional grated Parmesan cheese.

Doesn't that look heavenly! Everyone loved it and I hope you do too. Enjoy!