Sunday, August 28, 2011

August 28: Tomato-Basil Pasta Nests

   Coarse salt
1 pound angel hair pasta
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
   Coarse black pepper
20 fresh basil leaves, shredded (chiffonade) or torn
3 rounded tablespoonfuls prepared, refrigerated pesto sauce
1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Romano cheese
   Crusty bread, to pass at the table
   Small salad

Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Salt the water and cook the pasta al dente (with a bite to it).

While the water is heating, begin the sauce by heating a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Add the EVOO, garlic, and onions. Saute for 8 to 10 minutes; reduce the heat a bit if the onions begin to brown. You want them to become sweet and soft, but not to caramelize.

Stir in the tomatoes and heat through. Season the sauce with salt and pepper. Wilt in the basil and turn off the heat. Stir in the pesto sauce.

Drain the pasta and add to the sauce. Toss in the pan to distribute. Sprinkle in the cheese, tossing to combine.

Grab a meat fork. Stick the fork into the pasta and bring up a heaping forkful. Turn and twist the pasta, using your palm to guide the pasta a bit, to form a nest. The recipe should yield 8 small nests, 4 inches wide and 5 to 6 inches long.

Serve 2 nests per person with a small salad and crusty bread.


RR says: "When I worked in a commercial kitchen, making different items for the prepared food counter, there were a few items that always 'sold out.' The best sellers, day to day, month to month, no matter the season, were apricot chicken tenders, sesame noodles, and pasta nests. Here are three pasta-licious nests, adapted for your home production kitchen." Then she says about this recipe: "A pretty basic version to get you started." The only thing I changed about this recipe is that I added the salad to the ingredient list. It wasn't listed anywhere except at the very end of the recipe instructions, so I didn't even see it. Needless to say, we didn't have a salad at this meal. The pasta is very good. I don't have anything to say about it.

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