Monday, May 16, 2011

Pasta with Fresh Tomatoes and Mascarpone

By Friday nights, I'm ready for a fairly simple dinner that doesn't take too long to put together, but is indulgent enough to relax with.  We had found some beautiful locally-grown golden tomatoes at the grocery store, and this recipe from Bon Appetit came to mind.  Thinking that these slightly out-of-season tomatoes might taste a little better after cooking a little to concentrate the flavor, I decided that this pasta would be a perfect side dish for the flank steak we planned to grill.  

I didn't have basil, so for color and some more veggies, I added half a bag of baby spinach that needed to be used.  I did have mascarpone cheese, and inspired by this pasta on Pink Parsley, I added it in, making this pasta just rich enough to kick off the weekend.

Pasta with Fresh Tomatoes and Mascarpone

What's in it:
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
8 oz tomatoes of your choice- any size and variety
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
Kosher salt
6 oz baby spinach
6 oz pasta shapes
1/4 c mascarpone cheese
3/4 c finely grated Pecorino or Parmesan

How to make it:

Heat 3 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add tomatoes, garlic, and red pepper flakes, season with salt, and cook, covered slightly and swirling pan often, until tomatoes blister and burst, 10-12 minutes. Press down on tomatoes to release their juices. Add spinach and sautee until just wilted.  Remove pan from heat and set aside.

Meanwhile, bring 3 quarts water to a boil in a 5-qt. pot. Season with salt; add pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until about 2 minutes before tender. Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup pasta cooking water.

Transfer pasta to skillet with tomatoes; set over high heat. Add 1/2 cup pasta water. Cook, stirring and tossing often, until sauce thickens and pasta is just al dente.  Stir in the mascarpone and parmesan and toss until sauce coats pasta, adding more pasta water if sauce seems dry.   Serve immediately.

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