Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Tasty Tuesday - Penne Pomodoro

Rob and I met when we worked together at a great little Italian joint called The Blu Tomato.  We used to eat there all the time even though it was completely out if the way for us.  The food was great and it always brought back great memories of us falling in love.

They unfortunately closed their doors a couple years ago.  Fortunately for us, I perfected one of their signature pasta dishes  and make it on a regular basis.  Penne Pomo is a light pasta dish that is so easy to make. It only has 6 ingredients, but it's full of flavor. It was the first pasta the kids tried, and they love it as much as we do.   

They are having seconds after our trip to the splash pad tonight. 

Penne Pomodoro 
8 cloves garlic
1 ounce fresh basil
1 28 ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
12 ounces penne pasta 
Fresh whole milk mozzarella 
Extra virgin olive oil


1. Peel garlic and thinly slice. Chop or tear basil into small pieces. 
2. Add 2 tbsp EVOO to a hot sauté pan.  Add sliced garlic and cook until lightly brown and fragrant over medium-high heat.   
3. Meanwhile, bring water for pasta to a boil in a large sauce pan.  Make sure to salt your pasta water. Once water is boiling, add pasta and cook fully. Drain pasta. 
4. Reduce heat to medium and add juice from tomatoes to sauté pan. Be careful as the juice and hot oil will pop.  Slice tomatoes into quarters and add to sauté pan.  I recommend doing this over the pan as you want all the juice from the tomatoes.  You could also do it over the cam ahead of time and just dump the juice and tomatoes in all at once. 
5. Add basil and let cook for no more than 5 minutes.  If you cook it too long your sauce will be too thick.  If needed add more EVOO to thin out sauce.  
6. Add pasta and serve hot. Garnish with    fresh mozzarella balls or cut up cubes.  

Notes : it is important to have everything prepped before you start. this dish cooks very quickly. You can use fresh tomatoes, diced tomatoes or stewed tomatoes.  I prefer whole peeled because of the juice they have.  I have used more or less garlic or basil than what I put in the recipe.  It turns out well even if the amounts aren't exact.  If you don't have access to fresh basil, Bolthouse Farms makes a great freeze dried basil that can be substituted. The dish is best when the pasta is hot enough to make the cheese gooey.  I occasionally microwave the pasta after garnishing with cheese to get it gooey.  I recommend buying the large ball or log of fresh mozz. The small balls are convenient, but don't melt as well.  I only use them if, like today, the store is out of the larger variety.  
I hope you all love this dish as much as we do.  Everyone who I have made this for, or passed the recipe on to, raves about how great it is.  Happy cooking!!

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