May 13, 2010

Pasta Ponza

Oh man, did I do some indulging at last night's bible study group! Our host made a main dish, and some of the participants brought a side dish, appetizer, dessert, or bottle of wine. It was certainly a great spread! I got on the scale this morning and it definitely reflected exactly how much food and drink I enjoyed. Ugh. Anyway, I thought I would lighten things up tonight with a bit of this vegetarian pasta dish from the Giada at Home cookbook, and a big green salad. I think my meal will be considerably more salad than pasta, so hopefully I can get my diet efforts back on track. After I type this post up, I am headed straight for our elliptical machine!

Pasta Ponza
From: Giada at Home cookbook,

Butter for greasing (I am using cooking spray)
2 cups (12 ounces) red cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
2 cups (12 ounces) yellow cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup capers, rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus extra for seasoning
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus extra for seasoning
1/2 cup Italian-style seasoned breadcrumbs
1 pound ziti, penne, or other short tube-shaped pasta
1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 ounces) Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter (or spray with cooking spray) an 8 by 8-inch glass baking dish. Set aside.

Place the tomatoes, capers, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in the prepared baking dish. Toss to coat. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the tomato mixture. Drizzle the top with olive oil and bake for 30 to 35 minutes until the top is golden. Cool for 5 minutes.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and reserve about 1 cup of the pasta water.

Place the pasta in a large serving bowl. Spoon the tomato mixture onto the pasta. Add the cheese and toss well. Thin out the sauce with a little pasta water, if needed. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley and serve immediately.

The Result:
This was easy to put together, but surprisingly ho-hum in flavor. It was a decent pasta dish...but nothing remarkable. I would make it again if I had all the ingredients on hand, and I needed something low-stress for dinner. Other than that, I can't say that it was too fabulous...just okay, at best.

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