The following “Chew This!” column originally appeared in “The Courier-Times” and / or “The Shelbyville News”. Check their websites for further information and dates.
A Fresh and Delicious Pasta Dish!
Summer is coming up, if not already here, so I have been thinking about lighter recipes. I love cooking with the seasons and even though there are no real rules for when to eat food, I do like cooking and eating seasonally. Chili, to me, is a fall and winter dish. Do you eat chili during the summer? If so, nothing wrong with that but if I make chili in the summer, I find I like it better, cold and on a hotdog. There is just something about chili, chicken and dumplings and comfort foods like that, that I like better when it is cold or snowy out. Now, do not get me wrong, on some emotionally difficult days, during the dead of summer, I will curl up with mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese and dumplings but that is a rare occasion. The recipes I like during the spring and summer are generally healthier and lighter than most of my meals. When the weather is hot, I want something cooling and comforting. Cold pasta usually hits the spot for me. Or perhaps a chilled soup or even a warm salmon patty served on wild rice.
The pasta recipe I am sharing today can be served cold, hot or room temperature. I love recipes like this one that can not only be served at any temperature but also calls for fresh ingredients, has loads of flavor and does not weigh you down in the heat. I love fresh local cherry tomatoes for this recipe, that can be purchased at any farm stand, that are all shades and colors of red. Each unique shade of red tomato has a flavor all of its own. If you prefer the more general solid red color of tomato, use those instead but I find the red rainbow tomato assortment the best. The parmesan cheese in this recipe really takes the flavor over the top and pairs well with the tomatoes and pasta but especially with the garlic. The initial tossing of the tomatoes with the garlic and oil should only sit in the refrigerator for 4 hours, no longer. Once the pasta is cooked, tossed and finished though, it can stay chilled in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Fresh Tomato and Garlic Pasta
This can be served room temperature, hot or chilled. Keep in refrigerator for up to 3 days.
4 pints colorful cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 pound angel hair pasta
2 cups grated parmesan cheese
In a large bowl combine the halved colorful cherry tomatoes, olive oil, minced garlic, salt and black pepper. Cover with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature for about 4 hours.
When ready to serve, bring a large pot of water to a boil.
Add large pinch of salt and drizzle of olive oil to the water and stir.
Cook angel hair pasta about 3 minutes. Drain.
Add the pasta in with the tomato mixture and toss. Sprinkle with chopped basil leaves and grated parmesan cheese. Toss together.
Sprinkle additional chopped basil leaves and grated parmesan cheese on top if desired.
Serve hot, warm, room temperature or cold.
Ask and Answer: I posted a fat free and diabetic friendly dessert on my Facebook page the other day it really seemed to be a hit so I thought I would share it here too. Combine a box of angel food cake mix with 1 20 oz can of crushed pineapple. Pour this mixture into a 9×13-inch greased baking pan and bake in 350-degree F oven for 37 minutes. Remove and cool. You can top with Cool-Whip or toasted shredded coconut if desired. Quite simple and delicious!