Orecchiette with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes, Buffalo Mozzarella and Basil
by eat in my kitchen
This meal started off with an image in my head. Quite often I imagine recipes visually, I can see the colours, the texture, the whole composition is just waiting to get out of my head onto a plate. For days I’ve been mentally carrying a Tuscan picture with me (it’s Tuscan to me at least). I had a big bowl of orecchiette in mind, topped with roasted cherry tomatoes on a branch. I could see the woody sprig turning black and the firm skin of the red fruit grilled and burst creating a smoky sweetness to mix with my pasta. Sprinkled with pieces of Buffalo mozzarella and fresh basil it turns into a tasty beauty in green, white and red – the Italian flag on a plate!
This is another one of these simple and perfect Italian dishes, the classic combination of tomato, mozzarella and fresh herbs which I love so much in various recipes. It is as good as an insalata caprese which I mix with mint as it is in a Panzanella, a Tuscan salad made with stale bread, a recipe which is on the top of my cooking list for when I’m in Malta (which will be very soon!). You can throw it on pizza, quiche or mix it with any kinds of pasta, warm or cold, with rosemary, oregano, thyme or whatever your herb garden offers. This is the essence of pure Italian comfort food!
Orecchiette with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes, Mozzarella and Basil
For 2 people you need
orecchiette 200g / 7 ounces
cherry tomatoes on a branch 500g / 1 pound
Buffalo mozzarella, torn into bite sized pieces, 125g / 4.5 ounces
big basil leaves, torn, 10
olive oil 50ml / 1 3/4 ounces
garlic, cut in half, 1 clove
salt and crushed black pepper
Cook the pasta in lots of salted water al dente.
Turn on the grill of your oven, put the tomatoes (on their branches) on a baking dish and roast for 12 minutes or until their skin starts to turn black and burst.
In a sauce pan, warm up the olive oil together with the garlic and leave on a medium-low heat for 1-2 minutes.
Divide the pasta between 2 big plates, mix with the garlic olive oil and top with mozzarella, basil and a roasted branch of tomatoes. Sprinkle with salt and crushed pepper.