Saturday, August 16, 2014

Pasta Con Pomodori

I love this part of summer. The days are still warm, but not as hot as mid July. The nights are cooling off, but are not so cool that you need a jacket yet. There's back to school shopping to be done, if you are in school that is. I can almost taste fall, but not quite. Sigh. It's the good life.

Summer also calls for a lighter kind of food than the rest of the year. We don't need something to warm our bellies on a cold night or that will stick to our ribs because we are putting on our "winter weight". (Don't judge. Everybody does it and you know it.) Summer calls for fresh and light. Something that fits the clothes we wear, like sundresses or swim suits. For me, the call was for a light pasta dish today. I needed something tangy and slightly sweet, but herby in a clean kind of way. I think I will call it Pasta con Pomodori. Yes, I realize that it translates to Pasta with Sun dried, but the whole thing was WAY too long, and Pasta Delish was too blah of a name. Besides, when you name something you created out of your own brain, you can call it whatever you want.

A few notes for you:
1) Timing with this is everything. If you are using chicken in your sauce, it needs to be fully cooked before the pasta goes in the water since it only takes 2.5-3 minutes to cook (depending on how al dente you like your pasta).
2) If you don't have basil infused olive oil, you can use regular olive oil and just add a few basil leaves to the sauce as it's cooking.
3) Don't forget to drizzle a little extra oil on top when you plate. It's just better that way.

Pasta Con Pomodori

Makes 2 servings


1 cup flour
2 eggs
pinch of salt
pinch freshly ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
extra flour for dusting

Extra Virgin Olive Oil to cook the chicken in
2 cups fresh spinach
3 whole sun dried tomatoes
4 TBS basil infused olive oil
3 chicken thighs or breasts (optional)
Herbs to taste

1) In a food processor, combine all the ingredients for the pasta, and pulse until combined. If it is a wet crumbly texture, that's okay for now.

2) Dust the counter or table that you are working on with a bit of flour as well as a rolling pin. A round bottle also works if you don't have a rolling pin.

3) If you have frozen chicken, start cooking in a covered frying pan over medium heat with a splash of olive oil and your herbs. Stir occasionally so they don't burn. If it is cooking too quickly, turn down the heat.

4) If you have crumbly or wet dough, knead in flour a teaspoon at a time until the dough no longer sticks to your hands and forms a smooth ball. If it came out of the food processor like that already, good for you!

5) Cut the ball of dough in half.

6) If you have thawed chicken, now is the time to start #3.

7) Roll the first half of the dough out as thin as possible. The thinner you can get it, the better. If you happen to have a pasta press, use every setting. Be sure to flip the dough over frequently, making sure to dust each side with flour every flip. This will keep the dough from sticking to the counter and the rolling pin.

8) Bring a medium size pot of salted water to a rolling boil.

9) Dust both sides of the dough. Carefully roll your flattened dough in to a flat tube (it should be a kind of folding type roll). Take a sharp knife and cut along the skinny end to make noodles. Thin cuts make spaghetti. Thick cuts make fettuccine. Unroll each noodle.

10) Remove chicken from the pan, and cut into bite size pieces. Return to the pan, and turn heat to low. Add more oil if needed.

11) Repeat steps 7 and 9 on the second half of the dough. 

12) Add all of the noodles to the boil water, and give it a good stir so they don't stick to the bottom of the pot. Cook for 2.5-3 minutes, or until you like them done.

13) Quickly, chop up your sun dried tomatoes, and toss in the pan with the chicken. Add your fresh spinach and stir until wilted. Add the basil infused olive oil until the sauce is wet enough for you, about 3-4 tbs for us. Remove from heat.

14) Drain the pasta, then dump into the pan with your sauce. Stir. Plate. Top with Parmesan cheese if desired. Buon Appetito.

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