From my kitchen to yours, I bring you the delicacy of a pasta that is crispy, but at the same time tender; an explosion of flavor bathed in the glory of a fresh homemade bruschetta sauce. I hope it charms and entices you enough to cook it for yourself or to impress that special person in your life. Trust me, this recipe may be fairly simple, but it is all you need to bring some more sophistication and class to your cooking.
Ingredients (Serves 2-4)
- Box of quality pasta – Farfallone, a larger version of Farfalle pasta, or most commonly known as large bow-tie pasta.
o Farfallone pasta was originated in Northern Italy and dates back to the 16th century. Interestingly enough it was named after the Italian word for “butterfly” as it resembles butterfly wings. This decorative pasta form adds a nice elegant touch to our recipe.
o High quality pasta will ensure better taste as it will hold the sauce uniformly and preserve its important ‘al dente’ texture. When choosing superior quality pasta, don’t blindly trust the packaging, but rather examine it closely and make sure it has a golden yellow color with uniform appearance and texture (no tiny specks). Lower quality pasta will have a darker brown color, dark shades, or lots of small specks in it. De Cecco or Voiello are probably one of the best brands you can find at your local supermarket. If those are not available choose one “Made in Italy” not necessarily “Imported from Italy”, nor trust the ones with Italian names, as these could actually be made somewhere else.
o Always make sure to store your pasta in a cool, dry place. After opening the package always transfer to an airtight container to keep its quality.
- 1-1½ pound of fresh Italian parmesan cheese
- 2 Whole Shallots chopped
- 2 Whole Sweet White Onions chopped
- 1½-2 Whole Garlic minced
- 6 diced Roma tomatoes
- 10-20 leaves of fresh basil and similar quantity of parsley
- ½ cup of Olive Oil
- 2/3 cup medium quality balsamic vinegar
- 1 oz of high quality balsamic vinegar
- 4 tablespoons of sugar
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1 tablespoon of coarse ground pepper
- Large Black Iron Skillet or a large frying-pan
o If you do not already own a black skillet definitely consider investing in one, or a couple, as they are one of the best cookware you can have and they last an eternity. A black skillet will be made from cast iron and with time will develop a hard layer of grease or “seasoning” that will prevent the food from sticking and most importantly, it will add a unique flavor to it. Even better, there is no soap, cleaning or scrubbing involved, as usually everything slides off and you aim to leave a thin layer of greasy residue with every cooking. Other times, wiping it with a paper towel should do the trick. If you are intrigued by the secrets of black skillets then you will enjoy reading this.
- Stainless Cookware
o All-Clad is one of the best cookware brands out there, however, if you are not much of a cooking enthusiast it may not be worth the expense. Cuisinart, Caphalon, or Rachel Ray Hard-Anodized cookware brands are also of good quality but available at a more affordable price if you are on a budget. You can read more on best-reviewed cookware here.
If you plan on succeeding while cooking this pasta you better be good at multitasking, as you will be juggling the following tasks simultaneously.
1. Prepare pasta “al dente”
The term “al dente”, derived from Italian meaning “to the bite” describes pasta cooked to the point it is still firm but not hard. This is very important as the pasta will undergo another cooking and you want it to hold up and retain its firmness through the process.
2. Prepare homemade bruschetta
Make a mixture of 1/3 cup of olive oil, 2/3 cup of medium quality balsamic vinegar, 4 heaping tablespoons of sugar, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 tablespoon of coarse ground pepper and the 4 cloves of garlic finely minced. For an extra zing, throw in 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper and ¼ cup of peach-mango salsa (Santa Barbara brand is a good choice). Add the diced Roma tomatoes, toss and place in the fridge to allow marinating.
Separately, hand grate the Italian cheese. You can also use a combination of half Parmesan and half Asiago to add more flavor. Also, chop the fresh basil and the parsley to be used later on.
3. Set the stage for the first cooking
Mince the whole garlic (leaving aside 4 cloves) and chop the shallots and sweet white onions. My philosophy: if you think you’ve used too much garlic, double it – vampires beware. Sautee the shallots with the onions and as they’re turning brown add the garlic (adding it from the start would cause it to overcook and get toasty and bitter).
Take the pasta “al dente” and put it in the black skillet with the rest of the olive oil and brown the pasta on high heat for approximately 5 minutes. Add the sautéed mixture of shallots, garlic and onion and quickly toss with the pasta.
Add the grated cheese, cover it and let it melt on high heat. Continue to toss every minute, for 5-8 minutes, to keep it from crumbling. The cheese will caramelize with the pasta during this time.
Transfer it to a bowl and add the previously prepared bruschetta mixture, proceed to add the chopped basil and Italian parsley. Then add about 1 oz. of high quality balsamic vinegar and do a very light toss to preserve the herbs consistency.
Serve, enjoy immensely, and proceed to make love. Let me know what you think after trying it! – courtesy of The 18/8 Man.