Yes, we know it’s Wedding Wednesday and there’s a fantastic (and long) post about 2011/2012 wedding trends, along with reviews of the 4 Weddings mentioned previously, via Team Dolce, coming your way! But in the meantime, we hope you had a terrific summer! I just got back from 5 weeks in East Hampton, where I shed some old habits, picked up some wonderful new workout secrets and beauty weapons and, of course, party ideas. Here is a recipe for any stressed out reader, bride to be, or person looking to use the best of the last of the bumper crop of fabulous tomatoes!
I hosted a small dinner party in the garden for some good friends and it was terrific. The menu: grilled marinated flank steak, chopped salad (mine has hearts of palm, Sagaponack corn and goat cheese in it), bruschetta with pesto and grana padano, grilled asparagus with truffle oil, fresh blueberry cobbler with vanilla bean ice cream and bottles and bottles of local rose wine from Wolffer Estates, served bone-chillingly cold. The real star of the show was the pasta course (well, not “course” – everything is served family style from large white Vietri platters). I swear it took about 10 minutes to make. You can make the “sauce” ahead of time and let it marinate or just throw it all together!
Summer Garden Pasta (use spaghetti, thin spaghetti or angel hair)…Serves 4
1 lb. favorite dry pasta (see above). DeCecco is best.
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 cups grape or pear tomatoes, halved (I like the heirloom kind in different colors). If you cannot find grape or pear tomatoes, regular ones or Romas are fine – just roughly chop into chunks.
1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
2 tsp. good balsamic vinegar
8-12 oz. fresh mozzarella, cut into a dice for tender chunks (or use the bocconcini)
2 handfuls fresh basil, rolled and sliced into ribbons (or torn roughly for a more rustic look). Save some whole leaves to garnish the platter
1/2 cup Pecorino Romano (grated). You can also use Parmesan, if you prefer it.
Kosher or sea salt
Fresh cracked pepper
*look at the end of the recipe for fun add-ons to suit your mood.
– Prepare pasta according to package directions in heavily salted water. Towards the end of its readiness, reserve about 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid – just skim it off the top with a measuring cup or ladle. It helps thin out the sauce and keep the pasta strands from sticking. It also imparts a nice sheen to the dish.
– Combine all ingredients except the Pecorino Romano in a large glass bowl. Toss gently, fold over, and revel in its gorgeousness! You can also let this sit for about 30 minutes to an hour for more depth of flavor and THEN cook your pasta.
– Drain the pasta and put it back in the (still) hot pot
– add the uncooked sauce and toss with tongs gently
– add the additional cooking liquid and keep tossing
– sprinkle the Pecorino and toss through
– pour onto a platter and garnish with whole basil leaves
*If it floats your boat, throw in 1 tsp red chile flakes for some heat, or 2 teaspoons capers, maybe pine nuts, some arugula, a drizzle of truffle oil, some anchovies, a swirl of fresh ricotta or even some panko bread crumbs for crunch. Mangia down, twirl, enjoy, feel accomplished.
To wear: a caftan in Ikat print, gold gladiator sandals or bare feet, beachy waved hair, minimal makeup.
To flower: bunches of the last hydrangeas (don’t invite Madonna! ha!)