Tag Archives: tomatoes

Burrata Pasta and Cooking Local

I am still on the no to low cook march – DC is hitting historic heat levels and I know most of the rest of the country is too.  So why not do as little cooking as possible and take advantage of nice summer tomatoes?  This pasta dish I came up with last month when I was in Boston cooking for my mom.  We had found some beautiful cherry tomatoes at Allendale Farm, an urban farm that was one of my favorite places growing up and even more so now as an adult who cooks.  Then I grabbed some fresh pasta at Boston Public Market flavored with parsley and garlic.  Last but not least we had some super creamy burrata from Russo’s in Watertown, MA in the fridge.  If you have never had burrata you need to run out and get some – its like mozzarella and cream had a baby and it just oozes and runs yummy cheesy goodness everywhere.

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Delicious on its own, I thought burrata could actually stand in and make its own sauce since it’s so creamy.  Inspiration struck and it delivered a delicious pasta dinner where all you have to do is boil water.  I replicated it back in DC and it proved one of my fundamental cooking rules – if you are going simple, you have to use the highest quality ingredients.  I made this dish using grocery store tomatoes and cheese on dried pasta – NOT the same.  It was still good, don’t get me wrong, but please if you make this please do run down good ingredients.  It reaffirmed that spending a little more and frequenting local purveyors really does make all the difference.  I will have to make this again soon using the best ingredients DC has to offer and see if it stacks up to the Boston version.  So remember – cook local!

Burrata Pasta (printable version at the end of the post)

Inspiration:   local summer ingredients
Special Equipment:  none

  • 1 pint of local cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 large garlic cloves, crushed and peeled
  • splash of red wine vinegar
  • pinch of sugar
  • splash of olive oil
  • 1 pound fresh pasta (or dried if that’s all you have)
  • 2 small or one large ball of burrata (approximately 8 ounces) at room temperature
  • a couple of sprigs of basil
  • pinch of red pepper flakes

In a bowl toss the halved cherry tomatoes with the crushed garlic, red wine vinegar, sugar, olive oil and some salt and pepper.  You can do this right before you boil the water or leave it out for several hours – the more time you leave it the more the flavors will combine and the more juices the tomatoes will give off.

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Boil a pot of water and cook the pasta – if it’s fresh pasta that should only take a couple of minutes, dried takes longer but just follow the instructions on the box (short cut pasta is best here).  Drain the pasta and add to a large serving bowl.  With clean hands, rip up the burrata over the pasta letting any cream or small pieces fall into the bowl.  Once its all ripped up toss the pasta with the burrata.  Add the tomatoes and any juices accumulated and toss again.  Season with salt, pepper and crushed red pepper flakes.  Cut ribbons of basil and top the pasta.

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Burrata Pasta

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Print

Special Equipment:  none

  • 1 pint of local cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 large garlic cloves, crushed and peeled
  • splash of red wine vinegar
  • pinch of sugar
  • splash of olive oil
  • 1 pound fresh pasta (or dried if that’s all you have)
  • 2 small or one large ball of burrata (approximately 8 ounces) at room temperature
  • a couple of sprigs of basil
  • pinch of red pepper flakes

In a bowl toss the halved cherry tomatoes with the crushed garlic, red wine vinegar, sugar, olive oil and some salt and pepper.  You can do this right before you boil the water or leave it out for several hours – the more time you leave it the more the flavors will combine and the more juices the tomatoes will give off.  Boil a pot of water and cook the pasta – if it’s fresh pasta that should only take a couple of minutes, dried takes longer but just follow the instructions on the box (short cut pasta is best here).  Drain the pasta and add to a large serving bowl.  With clean hands, rip up the burrata over the pasta letting any cream or small pieces fall into the bowl.  Once its all ripped up toss the pasta with the burrata.  Add the tomatoes and any juices accumulated and toss again.  Season with salt, pepper and crushed red pepper flakes.  Cut ribbons of basil and top the pasta.

 

Farro Puttanesca

All summer long I feel like I am looking for fresh salads that can multi purpose – as a side to grilled chicken one night for dinner, leftovers for lunch, eaten at room temp for a picnic, easy for a potluck…the list goes on.  Grain salads are great for this because even the sturdiest of greens will wilt under dressing and heat, and they are more satisfying if eaten on their own as a vegetarian meal.  Farro is my favorite grain by far – it’s Italian so of course yummy, it is also good for you and very easy to cook.  I featured it before in this salad and got rave reviews from readers.  This one is even better for summer months as it doesn’t require any oven usage, a must in my DC kitchen.  Puttanesca is an Italian sauce that is usually served over pasta (though makes a terrific topper for fish or chicken as well).  Rumor has it that ladies of the night used to make this tangy pungent sauce and put it out to attract customers.  I always like a saucy story to go with my food but have no idea if that’s where the name came from.  What I do know is that the mixture of salty olives, tangy capers, sweet onions, briny anchovies and juicy tomatoes make for a perfect summer salad.

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Farro Puttanesca (printable version at the end of the post)

Inspiration:  picnic must haves
Special Equipment:  none

  • 1 cup farro
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, grated or minced
  • 1 tablespoon rinsed capers, chopped
  • 1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, chopped
  • 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 teaspoon anchovy paste or 1 anchovy (yes you can omit but trust me, keep it in)
  • 1 teaspoon thyme leaves
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • parsley

In a pot cook the farro in boiling salted water (like pasta) for about 20 minutes until tender, drain.  Meanwhile heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion and garlic and cook for 10 minutes.  Add the capers, kalamata olives, tomatoes,.anchovy paste, and thyme and cook for 4 minutes more for the flavors to combine.

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Add the wine and turn to medium high and cook for another couple of minutes until the wine cooks out.  Add the drained farro into the pan, toss all together and serve with chopped parsley on top.  Can be served hot, room temperature or stored in the fridge for several days.

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Farro Puttanesca

  • Servings: 4
  • Print

Special Equipment:  none

  • 1 cup farro
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, grated or minced
  • 1 tablespoon rinsed capers, chopped
  • 1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, chopped
  • 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 teaspoon anchovy paste or 1 anchovy (yes you can omit but trust me, keep it in)
  • 1 teaspoon thyme leaves
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • parsley

In a pot cook the farro in boiling salted water (like pasta) for about 20 minutes until tender, drain.  Meanwhile heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion and garlic and cook for 10 minutes.  Add the capers, kalamata olives, tomatoes,.anchovy paste, and thyme and cook for 4 minutes more for the flavors to combine.  Add the wine and turn to medium high and cook for another couple of minutes until the wine cooks out.  Add the drained farro into the pan, toss all together and serve with chopped parsley on top.  Can be served hot, room temperature or stored in the fridge for several days.

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