Monday, February 6, 2012

Quick Week Night Pasta Dinner

Here's a simple recipe that I make on a regular basis.  Sometimes I swap the type of pasta and veggies out for other kinds and it's a whole new meal.  It's a great meatless meal too.  I love Italian cooking.  I would love to use the reason that I have an Italian family background, but sadly nope.  That's not what is typical in Indiana.  We're German, English and maybe Irish :)  That's about all the variety you find. 

Pasta with Fresh Tomatoes and Basil
serves 4-6

1 1/2-2 cups of Ditalini Pasta (depending on how many people you're serving)
2 cloves of Garlic
1 can diced tomatoes
1 cup of fresh cherry or grape tomatoes cut in two
2-4 fresh basil leaves chopped roughly
1/2 cup fresh mozzarella
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 Tbsp. olive oil

Boil a large pot of water.  When it reaches a full rolling boil add your salt.  I use sea salt in mine. Add your pasta making sure you stir, this should only take about 7-9 minutes.  Follow the directions on the package of your pasta to be sure you don't over cook it.  Meanwhile dice up your cloves of garlic and add it to a hot skillet with the olive oil.  You should use a large chef pan or 12 inch skillet that will accommodate your pasta.  Next, add your can of diced tomatoes to the olive oil and garlic.  At this point I will salt and pepper the dish. Allow the juices from the tomatoes to get flavor from that garlic and cook down some.  This is the sauce and flavor for your dish.  Then add your fresh tomatoes and allow them to cook for a few minutes.  You still want to taste that freshness.  By now it's time to take out that pasta.  Don't drain that water!!! Use a strainer or large spider tool and get out that cooked pasta.  Turn off the heat of your skillet the heat of the pasta will heat up your dish.  Now it's time to add your diced mozzarella and basil.  I add some of the pasta water (1/8-1/4 cup) and toss it well.  Transfer to a serving bowl. Taste your dish and add more salt and pepper. 

I love this versatile dish.  I believe you can still enjoy pasta in moderation.  I love that you can get your veggies in the skillet too.  I might serve this with a salad and bread sticks.  

I've adapted this recipe from Giada

Here are some other things to add:  broccoli, asparagus, artichokes
Experiment with other kinds cheese or meat add ins too:  chicken, tuna, turkey, ham or prosciutto, Parmesan, fontina, pecorino-romano.  




  1. That looks really good Carey. I think my husband would especially like this recipe.

  2. Carey,
    This sounds like my kinda' hand ingredients...and in under 30 minutes! Thanks for this delicious recipe...from your Irish/ Italian blog friend!