Saturday, August 20, 2011

caprese salad and aglio e olio

99.9% of the time I'm a tomato hater.  I don't like bloody mary's, ketchup or salsa fresca. The thought of putting a tomato on a sandwich makes me cringe. 
Yes, I have issues.
For one brief moment, usually mid-August to mid-September (aka now) a tomato actually tastes like a tomato!
Strange concept, I know.
I decide to put my tomato phobia aside and do what anyone in their right mind would do with a bunch of local fresh picked tomatoes.

Make caprese salad.

In my eyes, this is one of the most quintessential summer dishes.  Basil is plentiful and tomatoes are everywhere.  Grab yourself a ball of fresh mozzarella and you're in business!

Slice up some tomatoes, tuck in some fresh mozzarella and basil.  Drizzle with a nice extra virgin olive oil and a generous pinch of sea salt and fresh cracked pepper.

I decided to follow this up with the simplest of pasta dishes, aglio e olio (aglio=garlic. olio=oil).

Aglio e olio in seven steps

1. Bring a large pot of  salted water to a boil
2. Add pasta.  Cook till al dente. Reserve a 1/2 c of the cooking water. Drain pasta and rinse under cold water.
3. In the same pot, heat a nice glug of olive oil. 
4. Add lots of grated garlic and a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes.  Cook 15 seconds, stirring constantly.
5. Add the pasta back in along with a splash of the pasta cooking water and some grated parmesan or pecorino romano. Cook for a minute or so, constantly stirring pasta. 
6. Throw in some fresh chopped parsley.
7. Serve with more grated cheese, cracked black pepper and a nice drizzle of olive oil.

Easy peasy summer eats!

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