Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Pomodoro Fresco Pasta Salad


A while back I received a copy of the cookbook In a Small Kitchen to review. It's written by the 20-something girls, Cara Eisenpress & Phoebe Lapine from the food blog, Big Girls Small Kitchen. I'm just finally getting around to it now, which is an indication of just how insanely busy my summer has been thus far!
As much as I love cookbooks, I am extremely selective in the ones I purchase...or, even accept for free...as I don't want to amass an enormous collection of cookbooks unless they'll be used on a fairly regular basis. {Is there a term for the opposite of being a hoarder? A minimalist? If so, that's me.}
But, I happen to be a fan of these girls. I love that they've been bitten by the food bug at such a young age and I appreciate their love of entertaining. I heard about their blog for the first time while watching an episode of Barefoot Contessa on The Food Network, in which they were guests. I know you're not supposed to judge a book by it's cover...but, looking at the cover of this cookbook, I could tell right away I would like it.
The recipes within it's pages are very accessible, even for beginners in the realm of cooking. At the same time they're still sophisticated. The cookbook has an original approach, where it's recipes are organized by the occasions for which one would cook...such as meals perfect when you're cooking for one, or having a date night, or hosting a dinner party. This one was from the section titled, Potlucking...under the subcategory, Packing a Picnic. Each section of also full of stories and food inspirations. It's one of very few cookbooks I've known that reads like an actual book, in that you could read it cover to cover.
What drew me to this recipe is that it's exactly the type of meal I would naturally make for a summer dinner, albeit a bit more refined than my typical version. When I looked at the ingredients list I realized it was basically my mother's bruschetta {with a few extra ingredients} mixed with pasta. My mom makes her signature dish many times every summer with her garden tomato harvests. She serves it with toasted bread slices as an appetizer. It's something that we all look forward to!
This recipe is called a pasta salad, as it's supposed to be served at room temperature, and can be made ahead of time. But, you could certainly serve it warm by adding in the hot pasta and plating it up right away. I love their idea of adding in some balsamic vinegar and a touch of sugar, as I knew it would add a nice sweetness to balance the acidic nature of tomatoes. It couldn't be easier to make and it's sure to be popular with anyone you serve it to...even with the a picky kid crowd.
ALSO...Today, I am offering up TWO free copies of "In a Small Kitchen" by Cara Eisenpress & Phoebe Lapine! To enter for a chance to win one, just leave a comment below. Winners will be randomly selected on Monday, August 1st {my birthday!}. Don't forget to leave contact information!
UPDATE: And the WINNERS are...Comments #1 {Lindsay!} and #14 {Joanne!}. Please send me an email with your contact info, so I can mail you your cookbooks! You can find my email in the "About Me" section above. Thanks All!

Begin by making the "sauce", which should be done at least an hour ahead of time. To do this you'll need 2 pounds of ripe tomatoes. Using the freshest, best-quality tomatoes would be ideal here. Unfortunately, at the time I made this I only had an assortment of good tomatoes and "just okay" tomatoes. But, it was still really good! Chop the tomatoes and add them to a large mixing bowl.

To them add 2 cloves of {minced} garlic, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar, 1 teaspoon sugar, a {hefty} pinch of red pepper flakes, and a 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil. Cover and let sit for 1 hour.

After the tomatoes have marinated, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook 1 pound of pasta {any type}, according to the package instructions for 1 minute less than al dente. Stir a 1/4 cup of chopped fresh basil into the tomatoes.

Drain the pasta and add it to the mixing bowl. Stir, to coat the pasta with the sauce, and serve.

Pomodoro Fresco Pasta Salad

Adapted from In a Small Kitchen, by Cara Eisenpress & Phoebe Lapine
Serves 4-6
Due to my lacking the freshest, ripest summer tomatoes, I used a mixture of high quality store-bought varieties and some from a Farmer's Market. I recommend getting the best quality you can find, as ripe tomatoes really make this dish. Mine turned out wonderfully delicious, but I can only imagine what it would be like with some home-grown tomatoes...something to look forward to with this year's garden harvest!
For the pasta choice, it's up to you. The original recipe calls for using fusilli. I chose to use orecchiette, or little hat shaped pasta, as it's perfect for holding sauce.

2 pounds ripe tomatoes, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
a hefty pinch of red pepper flakes
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 pound pasta {your choice}
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves

Add the tomatoes, garlic, salt, balsamic vinegar, sugar, red pepper flakes, and olive oil to a large mixing bowl. Stir and let sit for at least 1 hour, to let the flavors develop.
Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted water, using the package instructions for timing. I recommend cooking it about 1 minute less than al dente as the pasta will soak up liquid from the sauce and soften further. Drain the pasta.
Right before assembling the salad, stir the chopped fresh basil into the bowl of tomato sauce. Add the drained pasta to the sauce, give it a stir to coat, and serve.
Note: If preferred you can serve this dish hot, as a pasta main course, or it can be served at room temperature as a pasta salad. I served it as a pasta salad, and found the leftovers were very delicious the next day cold from the fridge...so, make extra! It can also be made several days ahead of time. Just add the basil in at the last minute, as it will brown and wilt if added too early. As an extra option, this salad would also be great with some cubed fresh mozzarella, or ricotta salata tossed in.
Click here for the printable recipe.

35 comments:

Lindsay said...

I love Big Girls Small Kitchen!

Clare said...

just stumbled upon this blog - already a fan!

Amanda said...

Happy early Birthday - Thank you, as always, for sharing your finds.

Alyssa Falquero said...

24 tomato plants in the back yard, can't wait to try it!

Anonymous said...

I am new to your blog, but intend to become a regular. Google isn't letting me stay logged in today, so I will post as anonymous! :)

Martha

Laura said...

This looks like another great recipe...looking forward to trying it!

Anonymous said...

Would love to win so I can stop retweeting all of your recipes :)

christie stockstill photography said...

I want that dish right now, please.

Laura said...

All your recipes are fantastic looking forward to trying this one too. (laurajohn01@gmail.com)

~Chris said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! Mine is Friday (7/29), so this would make a great present. :)

Mikki said...

This pasta looks amazing. I am bookmarking the recipe to make very soon!
(coeur.de.verre(at)hotmail(dot)co(dot)uk just in case im by any chance lucky for a change!)

Ialeen said...

Since I ama big fan of Irene's bruschetta, and these pictures look fabulous, I know that I will enjoy making this dish!!! Thanks for posting this.

Priya Sreeram said...

Advance Birthday wishes and loved the presentation of this hot looking pasta; cheers

Joanne said...

Happy early birthday gorgeous! Bruschetta is totally a staple around here in the summer as well and I love the little ways this sauce is spruced up so it's all bruschetta-esque and yet not!

LMBrown said...

My mouth is watering! Can't wait for my tomatoes to ripen in the garden!

The Eye 88 said...

I love cookbooks and this recipe looks great. I just found your blog about a week ago and I love the great photos and all of the yummy food you've posted. It will take me a while to go through all of the recipes. Happy early birthday from another Leo. Mine is coming up on 8/8!

Cheers, Sandra

Ruth said...

This looks gorgeous - I love the idea of not needing to cook the sauce!

Jessica said...

I started salivating as soon as I saw that picture! Thanks for sharing this recipe, and introducing me to the Big Girls Small Kitchen blog!

Happy early birthday! I'm an August baby too - I'll be 30 on the 20th!

Michelle said...

sounds delicious... I love bruschetta!

Happy birthday!

Jamie Loop said...

This is JUST the type of cookbook I've been DIEING to add to my collection! I am also a young cook who likes to entertain and love accessible recipes... can't wait to try this recipe!

Toni said...

This looks like a great way to use the tomatoes and basil that are starting to take over my garden! Thanks!

Gammy Ann said...

Nothing in this salad you couldn't love in August when the tomatoes are abundant!

JuLo said...

Yum! That looks so perfect for summer!

Kelsie said...

Someone was just expressing disbelief that I don't own more cookbooks...but I get all of my recipes from great food blogs (like yours!). However, if there's ever a zombie apocalypse, I will surely need some actual brick & mortar (paper) cookbooks. This one looks like a pretty great one!

Kelsie said...

Errr...my e-mail address is kelsiegray@gmail.com

Alley said...

Hello everyone. My name is Allison, and I am a cookbook hoarder. :)
P.S.-Happy Early Bday!

Email:cutiekiwee87@hughes.net

Suzy Q said...

I am in the cookbook collector camp. I love to sit and read cookbooks at night...but when I do the actual cooking, 97% of the time, I just use my laptop in the kitchen. Go figure!

Am bookmarking this one for our family reunion Saturday.

tokyoshoes (at) hotmail (dot) com

Anonymous said...

Looks delicious, can't wait to use some of my garden fresh tomatoes. (CumminsML@gmail.com)

David dddjjjppp@hotmail.com said...

Happy B-Day! A great use of my abundance of fresh tomatoes, basil, and garlic. Simple, bright, and well-balanced. Looking forward to having leftovers as a cool side. Oh, and as a guy, it's not easy for me to admit that I have a small, um... kitchen.

CNA duties said...

I always make it a point to cook healthy pastas. And your delicious recipe has just made it into my pasta list. Thanks.

Heidi @ Food Doodles said...

Mmm, that looks delicious as so fresh!

myfudo said...

This is a brilliant manifestation of tomatoes in fresh pasta. We go for all kinds with tomato.

Peggy said...

I've never seen that show, but I might have to start watching if they keep having recipes like this!

Sounds like the perfect way to use up our CSA tomatoes that are just rolling in right now =)

Anonymous said...

Made this the other night. It was a hit, times 4! Me, hubby and 2 yr old twin boys gobbled it up. Thanks for sharing..you've got a new fan :) Love the pics also!

Anonymous said...

Yum yum yum. I had a mix of heirloom tomatoes: red, gold and green. And I added fresh cooked corn.

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