PENNE WITH CHERRY TOMATOES, BASIL, AND MOZZARELLA

by - 5:46 AM

This is one of those pasta dishes where there is no need to cook the sauce—just get
the best perfectly ripened tomatoes, the freshest mozzarella, and the most aromatic
basil you can find. These ingredients will make the perfect dressing for pasta,
especially on hot summer days—rather than weighing down the stomach, this pasta
becomes a refreshing and tasty treat. Keeping good ingredients like these on hand
means that throwing together a great dinner at the last minute is a breeze.
SERVES 6
1 pound ripe and juicy cherry tomatoes (the ones sold still on the vine are the best),
rinsed, dried, and cut in half
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling over the finished pasta if you like
1 teaspoon sea salt, preferably coarse
Pinch of hot red pepper flakes
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1 pound penne pasta
10 fresh basil leaves, shredded
½ pound bocconcini (bite-size fresh mozzarella), cut in half
Toss the tomatoes, oil, sea salt, and red pepper flakes together in a large bowl. Whack
the garlic with the side of a knife, and toss it into the bowl. Let marinate at room
temperature, tossing once or twice, for 30 minutes.
While the tomatoes are marinating, bring 6 quarts of salted water to a boil in an 8-
quart pot over high heat. Stir the penne into the boiling water, and cook, semi-covered,
stirring occasionally, until al dente, 10 to 12 minutes.
Remove the garlic from the marinated tomatoes, if you like, and toss in the basil.
Drain the pasta, add it to the bowl of tomatoes, and toss well to mix. Check the
seasoning, adding salt and more red pepper flakes if necessary. Gently stir in the
bocconcini and serve.

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