Sunday, September 6, 2009

Happy to be Hosting Pasta Presto Nights #130

I am delighted to be hosting Pasta Presto Nights this week. This weekly foodie event is the brainchild of Ruth of Once Upon a Feast, and is all about the noodle in its infinite and glorious varieties. Each week bloggers post their recipes for macaroni, pierogies, rice noodles, gnocchi and pasta of all kinds and I am looking forward to noodling around with all of you this week for Pasta Presto Nights#130.

To submit a pasta dish, here are the rules:

1) Make a pasta dish and blog about it by Thursday, September 10th.

2) In your blog post, make sure to include a mention and link to Pasta Presto Nights and to this post on The Crispy Cook so we can spread the Pasta Love around.

3) Email your entry to me (oldsaratogabooks AT gmail DoT coM) with the link to your post no later than Thursday, September 10, 2009 (midnight Eastern Standard Time) so I can post the tasty roundup the following day. Attach a .jpg or other image file with your email.

For my contribution to this week's Pasta Presto Nights, I sought inspiration from my garden. It's late summer and the weather has been unusually wet and with temperature variations all over the map, so the tomatoes were totally stressed out and afflicted with blight early in the season. My only remaining tomato babies are some yellow Brandywines (though they are watery and mushy this year from all that rain excess) and some grape tomatoes. I gathered about 1 pint of these grape tomatoes and a handful of basil, a fennel bulb and some of our first homegrown garlic and came up with a really luscious pasta salad to bring to a gathering of friends.

For our gluten-free noodle option, I used a bag of Sam Mills corn pasta. When they recently had some of this pasta on sale for $1 a bag at Ocean State Job Lot in Ballston Spa, we stocked up. It has a nice golden color and stands up well when cooking, so I used this brand, but you could use any shaped pasta for this dish.

Late Summer Pasta Salad with Roasted Fennel and Garlic

1 16 oz. pkg. of your favorite pasta shape
1 8 oz. container fresh mozzarella balls, drained
2 cups grape tomatoes, cut in half
3 Tbsp. fresh basil, slivered
4 cloves roasted garlic
1 large bulb fennel, trimmed, halved and roasted
Salt and pepper to taste
3 Tbsp. White wine vinegar
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

The first step is to roast up some garlic and fennel. I put a whole head of trimmed garlic (cut off the tops to open up vents to let the oven heat in) in an oven dish with my trimmed fennel bulb, drizzled them with olive oil and covered the pan with foil. They were baked at 350 degrees F for 1 hour. Let cool and squeeze roasted garlic from four of the cloves and reserve. Chop roasted fennel coarsely and reserve.

Cook pasta and rinse with cold water. Drain.

Toss pasta, tomatoes, mozzarella balls (I cut them in half to extend their goodness throughout the dish and because my youngest likes to pluck them out ahead of serving) basil and fennel. Whisk roasted garlic in with vinegar and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and pour dressing over pasta salad. Toss gently and let chill until serving.

Makes 8 servings.

Looking forward to YOUR delicious pasta entries!


Lauren said...

Yum! This looks delicious =D. I love the mix of flavours in your dish!

NKP said...

Sounds great! I had no idea there were corn pastas.

trishtator said...

I'm glad you found a pasta brand you like. I have yet to be thrilled with a particular brand of pasta :). Your blog is beautiful and interesting!

Ruth Daniels said...

Looks totally awesome. And thanks so much for hosting this week's Presto Pasta Night. I can't wait to see what the rest of the world comes up with.

Joanne said...

Roasted fennel gives so much flavor to a pasta dish. I love how it infuses into everything! Great pasta dish and can't wait to see the round-up.