Well, this is always a bittersweet time of year for me. A much needed and long-awaited break is here, but it means I have to say goodbye to some wonderful young adults that I have had the opportunity to get to know and work with all school year.
The end of the year is extremely hectic for any faculty member, but it seems especially so for an 8th grade teacher with all of the field-trips, dances, activities, promotion practice, promotion, etc. To add to the end of the year chaos, my son, and both of my parents, have their birthdays at the beginning of June.
On Monday we were fortunate to have one of our good friends, Matt, who was visiting from out-of-state, stay with us for the night. Me being me, I wanted to make something yummy for dinner, however due to our crazy schedule, one could say that the pantry was looking a bit bare! But, being the good part Sicilian that I am (making my grandpa proud!), I always have pasta in the pantry. That with some tomatoes and some other fresh ingredients from our garden, I whipped up a pomodoro of sorts, which turned out really good!
The pasta, with some nice crusty bread; a wonderfully thick, sweet, aged balsamic vinegar and oil; a bottle of wine (the Argentinian 2008 Antigal Uno Malbec, an excellent and reasonably priced Trader Joes find); who could believe it was a Monday night! And therein lies the beauty of this time of the year. No one cared that we were up late on a Monday; or that we may be a little tired in the morning, since we still had two more days of school. The summer allows us to live our lives in a way that is meant to be: spending time with family and friends, around the table, enjoying good wine and food.
Teresa’s Pasta Pomodoro
2 pounds of cherry tomatoes, halved
1 pound of pasta (I used whole wheat spaghetti because that is what I had on hand, but angel hair would be great too!)
1 large shallot, finely diced
3-4 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling later
1/4 cup of fresh basil, chiffonade
red pepper flake, to taste
salt and pepper, to taste
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, and cook pasta until al dente, about 1 minute less than suggested cooking time. Retain 1/2 cup of cooking water after straining for sauce.
2. In a sauce pan over medium heat, put in oil, shallot, and garlic. Season with salt. Cook until soft. Add tomatoes, season with salt and pepper, and cook until they just begin to break down, about 4 minutes. Add red pepper flake, pepper, and basil. Stir to combine. Taste for seasonings and adjust according to taste.
3. Strain pasta, and add to sauce. If you feel you need a little more liquid, you can add a little pasta water. Allow pasta to finish cooking in sauce about 2 minutes.
4. Serve drizzled with a little olive oil and topped with freshly grated Parmesan.