May 10 Pasta with Checca Sauce
May 11 BBQ steak
I had a pint and a half of super ripe little grape tomatoes that were going to go bad if we didn't eat them soon. I had no choice but to make some pasta again. Honestly.
I found this Checca sauce in Giada's Everyday Italian and it is very similar to something I make all the time but different enough that it counts as a new recipe. When I make my version of this I just chop up super ripe tomatoes into a pretty fine dice, toss with olive oil, kosher salt and pepper, sometimes fresh basil, sometimes not and a whack of fresh boccaccini and let it sit all afternoon before tossing hot pasta into the room temperature tomato mixture. In this version, you process the tomatoes with some scallion, garlic and parmesan until you have a nice, coarse sauce. She doesn't say to do it ahead but I let it sit at room temperature for a couple of hours to let the flavours really mingle and get to know one another.
Since there was very little in the way of protein in this dish, I roasted a can of chick peas to toss into a salad to go with it. Both the crispy chickpeas and the pasta dish were a big hit all around. I think I still prefer my old standbye method of just chopping the tomatoes with the olive oil, salt and basil. I found the scallion and raw garlic a little overpowering but the boys liked it very much and didn't agree. They did both tell me that they like it better when I leave the chunks of boccaccini bigger. It's always something.
Checca Sauce with Cavatappi (serves 4)
3 green onions, coarsely chopped (i didn't use the dark green parts)
3 cloves garlic
a 1oz piece of parmesan, coarsely chopped
about 8 fresh basil leaves
3 tbls of my best organic olive oil (I like to save the good stuff for dishes like this that are not cooked)
about 160g of boccaccini, chopped up
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
400g of cavatappi or other pasta
Put the grape tomatoes, green onions, garlic, parmesan, basil and oil in the food processor and pulse until its coarsely chopped and starting to get smooth but not a puree. Pour that into a big , shallow bowl and taste. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the boccaccini.
Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook your pasta according to the package directions. Drain the pasta (reserve about 1/4 cup of the pasta cooking water in case the sauce seems dry) and immediately throw the hot pasta into the bowl with the sauce and toss to coat evenly. The mozzarella will start to get all soft and gooey.
I like to sprinkle mine with some hot chilli flakes, a bit more freshly grated parmesan and maybe a tiny bit more fresh basil.
Roasted chick peas
1/2 cucumber, peeled and sliced
1/4 cup pickled beets, sliced
about 2 cups of baby arugula and baby spinach
about 2 tbls of dressing (I don't like my salads super wet so you can use more if that's your thing)
Dressing: (my new favorite)
2 tbls grainy mustard
2 tbls extra virgin olive oil
2 tbls rice vinegar
1 generous tbls honey
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
I keep this in the fridge now so I took a couple of tables of this dressing and added about a tsp of fig balsamic vinegar to dress this salad.
Drain a can of chick peas, rinsing them with water to get rid of all of the starchy liquid they are canned in. Put a piece of paper towel down on a baking sheet and dump the rinsed chick peas on to it. Pat them dry. Drizzle a little bit of olive oil over them, just a tbls or 2, tops. Mix them all up with your hands or a spatula and roast them in the oven for between 30 and 40 minutes. Keep an eye on them because the smaller ones will be done in 30 and you want t hem crispy and lightly browned but not burnt.
Let them cool and sprinkle them on top of your salad.