Recently, I was at the grocery store, and noticed some beautiful cherry tomatoes. I bought some fresh mozzerella and a handful of basil, and threw it together into a super quick and bright tasting main dish.
This sort of a thing can certainly be riffed on, so don't feel like you have to follow my recipe to the letter. Swap out some creamy brie or smoked mozzerella for the fresh mozzerella, add a handful of pine-nuts, saute some mushrooms in a little olive oil...you get the idea. Make it your own!
Bowtie Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes and Mozzerella
1 lb bowtie pasta (or other short chunky pasta shape)
1 pint cherry tomatoes, each one cut in half
1 handful basil (approx 1/4 cup, cut into thin strips)
1 lb fresh mozzerella, cubed
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
3 Tablespoons olive oil
Red pepper flakes (small or large pinch, depending on your preference)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
To serve (optional):
Fresh, finely shredded romano or parmesan cheese
Finely grated lemon zest (I used Meyer lemons because that's what I had)
Slices of buttered french bread, run under the broiler until lightly golden
Bring a pot of well salted water to a boil (for my 5 quart pot, I put about 3 tablespoons of table salt in the water). Add pasta, and immediately get started on cutting each of the cherry tomatoes in half. Set tomatoes aside and thinly slice the basil and garlic. Cube the pound of mozzerella.
When the pasta is almost done, warm the olive oil in a small saucepan with the garlic, just until the garlic is ever so slightly golden. Add a pinch of red pepper flakes to the warm oil.
Drain the pasta, and add the garlic/oil, tomatoes, basil, and mozzerella cubes. Toss well to combine. Salt and pepper to taste, and serve with shredded cheese and a sprinkle of lemon zest. Serve over a bed of baby spinach (not shown in my picture), if desired, with broiled/toasted bread alongside.