Thursday, September 8, 2011

Cook: Pasta with Heirloom Tomatoes and Herbed Ricotta

"This is a great pasta for a hot summer day. The heat of the steaming spaghetti is tempered by tossing it with a tomato salad. It chills just enough to keep the sweat off your brow." 
- Johanne Killeen and George Germon, from their cookbook On Top of Spaghetti

The past two days have been scorching in LA. I wanted to make something out of the ingredients I already had on hand - ricotta, heirloom tomatoes, shallots, pasta, and basil from our new basil plant. After reading the description of this pasta recipe in my cookbook from the chefs of Al Forno (my favorite restaurant in Providence, RI ), it was decided. J and I would eat this for dinner, along with a side of jalapeno pork sausage which I had picked up from Whole Foods a couple days ago. It was just as Johanne and George promised, refreshing and comforting - a perfect summer pasta dish. As an added bonus, this recipe is quick and easy to make. 
Pasta with Heirloom Tomatoes and Herbed Ricotta (Serves 4)
  • 1 cup fresh ricotta
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
  • 1 tsp sea salt (or to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons finely minced shallot
  • 2 tablespoons red wine veingar
  • 5-6 large (2 lbs) fresh, juicy, ripe heirloom tomatoes
  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup mixed chopped fresh herbs (basil, thyme, marjoram, chives)
  • 1 pound dried pasta (I used Casarecce)

  1. Mix the ricotta, parsley and a pinch of salt in a small bowl and set aside
  2. In another small bowl, soften the shallots in sherry and red wine vinegars for at least 15 minutes
  3. Core and dice the tomatoes. Transfer them to a large pasta serving bowl and toss with olive oil, mixed herbs, and remaining salt.  ***
  4. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the pasta and cook - stirring often until pasta is cooked al dente. Drain and transfer the pasta to the bowl with the tomatoes.  Toss to coat every strand of pasta. 
  5. Spoon dollops of the herbed ricotta on top of the spaghetti and toss again just before serving. 
*** I only had fresh basil, and added a small sprinkle of dried thyme and marjoram to the mix

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