Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Capellini with Cherry Tomatoes, Olives & Basil

Using up the cherry tomatoes I grow in my own backyard was one of the main reasons I decided to try this recipe for Capellini with Cherry Tomatoes, Olives & Basil I found in The Stinking Rose Restaurant Cookbook. So I used those instead of the "various colors" as described in the recipe and it was a lot of fun to cook with food grown in my yard.

The end result is a bold and flavorful pasta dish. It reminds me quite a bit of pasta puttanesca which I have made several times before. But instead of making a full tomato sauce, the loose tomatoes seemed to make the pasta a bit lighter. Roasting the garlic cloves independently, instead of the whole head, was a fun and new way to do it. We spread the leftovers on some toasted bread topped with salt. Yum! My buddy who ate with me the night I made this doesn't like kalamata olives so he wasn't a big fan. But I ended up with leftovers and this heated up well too.

A few months ago I was in San Francisco and while I didn't eat at The Stinking Rose, we did pass it a few times and it always smelled wonderful. I forgot I owned this cookbook and this is the first recipe I have made from it. Flipping through it, there are a lot of interesting recipes to try.

Capellini with Cherry Tomatoes, Olives & Basil
Serves 4

Roasted Garlic
2 cups garlic cloves
1 cup olive oil

16 ounces fresh capellini pasta, or 12 ounces dried
2 tablespoons olive oil
8 to 10 cloves roasted garlic, from recipe
1 pint cherry tomatoes in various colors, halved
½ cup kalamata olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 to 8 leaves fresh basil, coarsely chopped

For the Roasted Garlic: In a heavy saucepan, combine the garlic and olive oil and cook over low heat for about 40 minutes, stirring once at 20 minutes, until the garlic begins to soften. Preheat the oven to 250° F. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the garlic to a baking sheet. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the cloves are golden brown and slightly wrinkled.

For the Pasta: In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the fresh pasta for 1 to 2 minutes, until al dente. If using dried pasta, cook according to the package directions, until al dente. Drain well.

In a large cast-iron skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat and add the garlic, tomatoes, olives and red pepper flakes. Stir once or twice to heat the ingredients through, then add the pasta, tossing to coat completely. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat. Scoop the pasta into a serving bowl and sprinkle with the basil. Serve immediately.

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