Friday, August 20, 2010

Penne with Heirloom Tomatoes and Garlic-Anchovy Breadcrumbs

This dish (and others like it) is one of my most favorite things about summer. You can go to the farmers' market and wander around aimlessly enjoying the warm sunshine and food eye candy, picking up bits and pieces as you go until your arms are suddenly filled with fresh fruit, veggies, bread, and other yummy things. When you get home, the fun part starts: figuring out what to do with all of it.

Last weekend's precious little haul included freshly baked ciabatta bread, heirloom tomatoes and garlic. With those simple, but perfect ingredients, along with a few others I had hanging around the kitchen, I pulled together this delicious pasta dish for a weekday dinner. It includes a light sauce made entirely from one juicy tomato and some good olive oil and handmade garlic-anchovy breadcrumbs to give the pasta a crunchy little kick and it tastes just like summer should. Sidenote: from-scratch breadcrumbs are super quick and easy to make, in case you were wondering. Recipe below. Happy weekend! xoxo

Penne with Heirloom Tomatoes and Garlic-Anchovy Breadcrumbs

Penne (enough for two people to eat)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
6 anchovy fillets, mashed to paste with 1 teaspoon oil from can
3 garlic cloves, pressed, divided
1 cup coarse fresh breadcrumbs made from crustless country bread
1 pound heirloom tomatoes, sliced
1 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese 

Cook penne until just tender but firm to bite. Drain, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid. 

Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add anchovies and 2 garlic cloves, then breadcrumbs. Cook breadcrumbs until golden, tossing to distribute evenly, about 5 minutes. Scrape crumbs onto plate and cool. 

Heat remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons oil in same skillet over medium heat. Add tomatoes, a scattering of basil and remaining garlic clove. Cover; cook until tomatoes begin to break down, about 10 minutes. Using fork, crush 1/4 of tomatoes. Add pasta, basil, cheese. Toss, adding reserved cooking liquid if dry. Mix in half of crumbs. Season pasta with salt and pepper.

Transfer pasta to large shallow bowl; top with remaining breadcrumbs and serve.

1 comment:

  1. WOW that looks amazing. I can't even remember the last time I had a proper pasta dish (they are very expensive in Thailand). Maybe I should just make it myself. Thanks!