Tuesday, May 18, 2010
No, I'm not making this today, or tomorrow, or this week, or the next week. I just want to share it with you because it's so fresh and delicious that keeping it to myself would just be naughty and selfish. Oddly enough, I don't like the sad attempt at authentic mozzarella for this recipe (the kind you find in tubs of water at the store: soft and squishy balls of counterfeit). For this recipe, I like the even MORE pathetic excuse for mozzarella (the solid block kind you find next to monterey jack; Polly-O is my favorite and has the best flavor of these little fakers). The reason is, the fake block version melts better against the hot pasta, while the squishy ball kind just sits there and has a flavor too mild to compete against all the other elements of the dish. Hence, I'm using Polly-O. Use what you want, but don't come complaining to me when you can hardly taste it in here.
-1 lbs pasta, either penne or spaghetti
-4 fresh, juicy tomatoes, ideally homegrown but if you must buy the vine type from the store. You can also use a large can of diced tomatoes and even reserve some of the juice in the can.
-a generous handful of fresh basil (about 20 leaves), chiffonade
-10 Kalamata olives, pitted and halved
-2 large cloves garlic, put through the crusher
-1/2 block of Polly-O mozzarella
-3 tbs of the olive juice (I like this better, but you can use lemon juice if you want)
-about 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil (use extra virgin for fresh sauces as it has so much more flavor) and a bit more to coat the pasta
While you're boiling your pasta, in a bowl, place your minced garlic and olive juice in the bottom, then whisk in the olive oil, carefully emulsifying the liquids. Add the tomatoes, olives, basil and toss. If you used canned tomato, let some of the juice from the can get in with everything. Chopped your mozzarella into half-inch cubes. Once your pasta is cooked al dente, drain it and give it a good douse of olive oil to coat it well and toss in your mozzarella (I like to put the cheese in before the cold ingredients so it starts to melt a bit). Finally, mix your tomato mixture into the pasta, salt and pepper it to taste, and serve it up presto.