Thursday, February 10, 2011

Barefoot Contessa Capellini with Tomatoes and Basil

From A Bountiful Kitchen
1/2 cup olive oil (next time I'll use 1/4-1/3 cup, it was just a little much)
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


1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add two tablespoons of salt to the pot.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4.  Add the Parmesan and fresh basil, and toss well.  

5.  Serve immediately with additional grated Parmesan cheese.

*I found this dish very simple and satisfying.  I must repeat this in the summer when I have a garden of tomatoes and basil.  If it were up to me, this would be a regular at my house, but I've got to respect my husband's indifference to tomatoes--I'll save it for a garden harvest!  I used about a pint of grape tomatoes and then added 3 or 4 Roma tomatoes.  It was great.

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