Thursday, March 13, 2008

Pasta with Fresh Tomato and Basil ...and Squash Blossoms!

Pasta with Fresh Tomatoes, Basil and Roasted Garlic

This is one of my most favorite dishes ever and I have no idea why I haven't posted it before now??? It is fast, fresh tasting and simple!

Garlic ready to be covered for roasting

Pasta With Fresh Tomato and Basil

1 head of garlic and 2 Tbsp olive oil
3 ripe plum tomatoes (I just use whatever is tasting good right them)
1/3 C fresh basil (chopped)
1 Tbsp capers
1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
1 box of long thin pasta (angel hair, linguine, spaghetti)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Peel of most of the paper from around the garlic head. Slice off the pointy top of the garlic. This should expose all of the cloves a bit. Place in an oven proof pan (I use a pie plate). Top with 2 Tbsp of olive oil and coarse salt. Cover with aluminum foil and bake in the oven for about 45 minutes. Allow to cool then remove the cloves and mash with a fork.
  • Dice the tomatoes (if the have a ton of seeds squeeze them out).
  • Add the garlic, basil, capers, olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
  • Let stand for at least 20 minutes.
  • Cook pasta.
  • Mix sauce with pasta and serve warm or at room temperature. Add salt and pepper to taste.
This thing that I love the most about this is that it is incredible served at room temperature so I can concentrate on other things while this is sitting.

I also decided that we were going to have the squash blossoms because I know (I think) they have to be used right away. I found some great recipes for stuffing them but I really wanted to keep this meal simple and fresh tasting so I opted to batter them and fry them. Yeah, I guess that isn't that light is it? Any way they turned out to be incredible tasting. They even still tasted like squash!!! I found the recipe in my absolute favorite cookbook by How to Cook Everything Vegetarian: Simple Meatless Recipes for Great Food (How to Cook Everything) by Mark Bittman. This book has proven to be my best resource for all of the fresh produce I am bringing home. If you were to have one cookbook and one cookbook only this is the one I would tell you to buy!

Anyway I found a beer batter recipe (Batter, European Style) and this worked perfect for the nice delicate flowers!
Squash Blossoms

Deep Fried Squash Blossoms (recipe by Mark Bittman-How to Cook Everything Vegetarian)

Heat 2 inches of oil in a heavy bottomed pot to at least 350 degrees.

1 Cup all-purpose flour, plus 1 Cup for dredging
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 egg
3/4 Cup beer or sparkling water (I stole T.'s beer for this one)
Coarse salt for finishing
  • While the oil is heating mix the batter ingredients until just combined. This batter should be the consistency of pancake batter.
  • Dredge each blossom lightly in the plain flour and then dip into the batter and place gently in the oil. Do not crowd the blossoms in the oil, you may have to cook in batches. Cook turning once until a nice golden brown.
  • Drain on a rack or paper towels and serve immediately
Squash Blossoms fried to a nice golden brown!

You can use this versatile batter for frying other vegetables but the cooking time will vary. I love it because it was a nice light batter that still allowed for the delicate flavor of the squash blossom to come through!

As Always...

Happy Entertaining!!!



Peter M said...

I want garden ripe tomatoes now!

Very little can beat a simple pasta like this.

As for the zucchini blossoms...I promised myself to seek them out this year.

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

Great minds think alike Judy:D As you know we are both thinking of summer. This is our favourite pasta as well...usually we just call it Summer Spaghetti. Sometimes I add capers,olives...most often I add cheese...ricotta, cottage, bocconcini, feta..the sky is the limit!!

Anonymous said...

Mmmm. Judy, it all looks so good. I can't wait to try the squash blossoms. Thanks for the recipes.

Judy@nofearentertaining said...

Oh Peter-I remember missing those too in the dead of winter. My Mom always comes at Christmas and eats her fill (and then some) of fresh tomatoes!

I guess we do Val. I have never really altered this recipe because when I have ripe tomatoes it is all I want!

Hey ga-farmgirl - I think I am going to plant some squash just for the blossoms this year!

Patsyk said...

I've never even seen squash blossoms, but anything fried can't be half bad, right? LOL! They are so pretty, too!

Judy@nofearentertaining said...

Patsyk-The blossoms were pretty and delicious as well! You are so right about the frying!

Anonymous said...

That looks really good. Now I want spaghetti!

By the way I tagged ya!