California Central Coast Recipes
Fresh Tomato and Basil Sauce with Fresh Smoked Mozzarella and Campanelle
In the summer when temperatures are soaring and you have really great-tasting tomatoes and fresh basil to work with - but don't feel like working too hard, here's an option for a quick fresh tomato based pasta entreé instead of grabbing a frozen pizza. This recipe uses Smoked Fresh Mozzarella for a "summer barbecue" twist on the old favorite Penne or Shells Pizza Style
The more trendy stores are starting to carry Smoked Fresh Mozzarella in their Deli cases. Now don't confuse "Smoked Fresh Mozzarella" with its cousin, Smoked low-moisture Mozzarella which you have to bake it to get it melt. The Fresh melts easily and you won't need to bake it. Plus the Fresh has a very unusual smoked taste making it taste almost like you prepared it on a grill.
Preparation time: 20 minutesCooking time: 20 minutes
4 Tablespoons Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
4 large cloves garlic , chopped
8 Fresh medium-large tomatoes , seeded and chopped
1/2 cup Basil , chopped
1/8 teaspoons Red pepper flakes , optional
Salt and pepper to taste
16 oz Smoked Fresh Mozzarella , cut into small dice
Parmesan cheese , grated for the table
1 pound Campanelle pasta
1 Cut the Smoked fresh Mozzarella into small dice. Set aside and keep cool.
2 Pour Olive oil into a large non-reactive saucepan and heat on medium-low. Add garlic and optional red pepper flakes. Saute until the garlic is fragrant and starting to become lightly golden. Do not brown.
3 Add the chopped tomatoes and raise heat a bit to medium-low to help bring to a simmer.
4 Add the chopped basil and continue to simmer on medium-low, correcting the seasoning with salt and pepper to your personal taste.
5 Reduce heat a bit and cook slowly on very low and covered -just enough heat to a maintain a slow simmer.
6 In the meantime, cook the pasta in boiling salted water until al dente or as directed on the package. Drain well. Add the pasta to the cooked sauce and stir to mix well.
7 Add the Smoked Mozzarella to the pasta sauce mixture and gently mix it just enough to distribute the cut dice evenly. Cover the saucepan and turn off heat. Let sit a 3-5 minutes, do not stir or disturb the mixture as it melts.
8 Serve on individual dinner plates with a little Basil for garnish.
9 Have grated Parmesan cheese available for the table.
This is a pretty zesty sauce. A good Zinfandel goes well with this.