Penne with garden Fresh Tomatoes and Basil plus Mozzarella

Penne with Garden Fresh Tomatoes and Basil and Mozzarella
Our garden seems to choose every year what it will do well and what it won’t. One year, it was zucchini. Another year, basil. This year seems to be tomatoes. So with the overabundance of tomatoes and a few small basil leaves, we wanted to make something that would be quick and easy and not super hot, since of course it’s late August in Missouri.

Luckily, J found this super simple recipe on the Food Network. We’ve talked about how we love lots of Emeril Lagasse’s dishes before (here, here and here) and he did not disappoint this time either.

Ingredients:
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil plus 2 tablespoons, divided
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped garlic
5 cups chopped fresh tomatoes
1 pound penne pasta (we used whole wheat)
1/2 cup shredded basil
Freshly ground black pepper
3/4 pound fresh salted mozzarella, sliced or cubed (I don’t know if we used the whole 3/4 of a pound. We did just get a fresh mozzarella log from our favorite grocer)
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (J added this to his, I left it out)
Balsamic vinegar to taste

Directions:
Put a large pot of salted water on for the pasta. Meanwhile, prepare your sauce. In a large skillet, heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil. Add the garlic and cook until just fragrant, about 1 minute or less. Add the tomatoes and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, just until they begin to release some of their juice.

Cook the pasta in the pot of salted boiling water for 12 to 13 minutes until al dente (you’re best bet is to follow the package directions). Drain the pasta. Add the pasta and basil to the pan with the tomatoes and toss. Season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Serve the pasta in bowls, equally distribute the fresh mozzarella between the bowls. Drizzle the remaining olive oil over the bowls of pasta and serve immediately.

We reserved some mozzarella to top the pasta and then drizzled it with Balsamic vinegar.

My opinion:
So very tasty and perfect for a hot summer evening. Next time we might add additional veggies like onions or zucchini.

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