Roasted Tomato with Basil Oil and Burrata from Linda Miller Nicholson

pasta

Timeless and delicious are the best words to describe this recipe from the author of Pasta, Pretty Please, Linda Miller Nicholson—a.k.a. Salty Seattle on Instagram. Inspired by the delectably memorable caprese salad she had in Italy, Linda has translated her love for that dish into a delectable sauce recipe that pasta lovers at any cooking skill level can indulge in and enjoy, whether served with one of Linda’s extraordinary handmade color pastas or another favorite pasta. Emphasizing the importance of choosing the freshest ingredients possible, this recipe of roasted tomatoes with basil oil and burrata will easily become a staple in your household and in your heart.

In Pasta, Pretty Please Linda shows you how to release your own creativity with artistic pasta in every color and shape imaginable and pairs them with inventive sauces and fillings that explodes your taste buds. She takes pasta to the next level, turning it into vibrant works of edible art using all natural ingredients—flour, eggs, vegetables, herbs, and superfoods. Pasta, Pretty Please is in bookstores everywhere and would make any pasta lover happy during the season of giving.

pasta

ROASTED TOMATOES WITH BASIL OIL AND BURRATA

This sauce honors the elements of a caprese salad—tomato, mozzarella, and basil. It’s a celebrated flavor combo for a reason, and that reason is to make your mouth sing with the flavors of Italy on a warm spring evening. I’ll never forget the first time I had a truly remarkable caprese. I was nineteen, sitting in an outdoor restaurant in a boisterous piazzetta on the balmy Italian island of Capri. While I thought I had tasted caprese before, the first bite showed me what I was missing with supermarket tomatoes, lackluster basil, and rubbery mozzarella. So many culinary combinations in Italy come from few ingredients, and yet their flavor is mighty. That is because the building blocks are of the very highest quality. I’d love it if you would try to select the freshest basil and burrata and the ripest tomatoes you can find to make this sauce. Trust me, your dinner guests will love it too.

This sauce highlights really pretty pasta, because even though there’s a lot going on, it’s not terribly visually distracting from the noodles themselves. Something like Striped Paccheri Rigati would work delightfully. It also wins points for flexibility. Dress it up by dolloping a spoonful of caviar on each portion, or make it humble by substituting mozzarella balls for the burrata. If you can’t find mini-roma tomatoes, feel free to use another medium-small, sweet tomato variety, preferably home-or trusted farmer–grown. Blanching any greens with a bit of baking soda in the water helps them to maintain their vibrant color.

MAKES 4 SERVINGS | PREPARATION TIME: 45 MINUTES

Basil Oil

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

4 ounces fresh basil, both leaves and stems (reserve a few leaves for garnish)

2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

 

Whole Roasted Tomatoes

12 ounces mini Roma tomatoes (or small vine tomatoes or Campari tomatoes)

3 tablespoons olive oil

10 thyme sprigs

1 tablespoon kosher salt

Assembly

One 8-ounce tub burrata cheese (2 balls)

1/2 cup hot, starchy pasta water

Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, Q.B.

  1. To make the basil oil, in a medium saucepan over high heat, bring 4 cups water to a boil with the salt and baking soda. Add the basil and blanch for 10 seconds, then drain immediately. Press as much water out as you can, then blend the basil and oil in a blender until smooth. Pour the basil oil through a fine-mesh strainer into a lidded glass jar. It will take some time for the oil to pass through the mesh, so continue with the rest of the recipe while you wait. (You can make the basil oil up to 1 week ahead, although in my fridge it never lasts more than a day, what with midnight toast dips and such.)
  2. To make the whole roasted tomatoes, preheat the oven to 450°F. Put the tomatoes in a large aluminum foil packet along with the oil, thyme, and salt and pinch it tightly closed at the top. Place the packet on a sheet pan to keep the oil from dripping onto the oven floor. Roast for 30 minutes, or until the tomatoes are blistered and soft but not falling apart.
  3. To assemble, 1 minute before serving, drain the liquid from the burrata container and pour the hot pasta water over the burrata balls to warm them slightly. Don’t immerse them in hot water for more than 1 minute or the burrata will become tough.
  1. Toss the whole roasted tomatoes with the pasta, then divide the pasta among four plates, top each portion with 1/2 ball of burrata, and drizzle on some basil oil. Garnish with the reserved basil leaves and Parmigiano.

Pasta-Pretty-Please

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