Disclosure: This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #ElevateYourMeal #CollectiveBias
So many things to love about today’s post!
I was thrilled to accept the challenge of creating an elevated-yet-easy recipe highlighting none other than Barilla® pasta. Barilla® is our family’s hands-down favorite pasta, and has been for years. And while we love their “blue box” and gluten-free varieties, I was excited to try their “Collezione” pasta.
And I knew just the recipe I wanted to make.
This caprese pasta beautifully captures how easy it is (with just a few simple tweaks) to take a simple dish up several notches – without any extra work, an arsenal of ingredients, or hours in the kitchen.
I got all of my ingredients at my local ShopRite:
Let’s start with the pasta. Barilla® Collezione features six artisanal shapes (made with non-GMO ingredients), and is crafted using traditional Italian bronze plates (bronze plates create a pasta surface that is coarser and more porous – so your sauce clings to the pasta, rather than sliding off). I love love love bucatini and featured it here. Bucatini looks like spaghetti but it’s so much better. It’s thicker, and has a hole running through the center, which means that the pasta is not only coated with your sauce, but also filled with it. Get on that.
Next? Bread crumbs. I love a bit of crunch in my savory dishes (and, TBH in my sweets too), but don’t love the fuss of making my own bread crumbs. Nor do I always have a loaf of Italian bread on-hand. Same? So years ago I tried using my always-on-hand sandwich bread, to see if the results would be as good.
The results were as good.
The secret is also what makes these bread crumbs so ridiculously easy to make. Simply tear the bread into rough pieces. By doing so you get lots of delicious, craggy edges that make it a real challenge to not devour the whole batch before they make it into your final dish. A quick toss with some lemon zest is PERFECTION (thank you, bazillion-years-ago-Bon-Appetit).
I also suggest tearing your mozzarella while you’re at it. Not only does this create a lovely, rustic appearance, those rougher edges hold your sauce much better. Win-win, anyone?
Finally, I wanted to create a dish that could be made year-round. So while I took advantage of gorgeous end-of-season tomatoes, anytime grape tomatoes will become sweet and caramelized when cooked down a bit over high heat. And if you can’t find fresh basil in the dead of winter, feel free to substitute with parsley or even mint.
Ready to give this a try? Your timing is perfect, because if you spend $15 on any Collezione products between 9/06/18 and 11/26/18 you’ll receive a $5 reward (click here for details)!
How do you “elevate” everyday meals?
12 ounces Barilla® Collezione Bucatini
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
2 cups torn bread (I used 2 slices of white sandwich bread)
zest from one lemon
6 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
salt and pepper
1 quart cherry or grape tomatoes
splash of white wine (optional)
1/2 cup grated parmesan
8 ounces fresh mozzarella, torn into bite-sized pieces
handful of fresh basil leaves, chopped
Cook pasta according to package directions, till al dente.
While pasta is cooking, toss the torn bread with enough olive oil to coat generously (about 2 tablespoons). Saute in a large skillet over medium heat till golden brown. Remove pan from heat, toss with the lemon zest and transfer to a plate. Wipe out the skillet and place over medium-high heat. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes (if using) and a generous pinch each of salt and pepper. Cook for about 2 minutes; discard the garlic. Add the tomatoes and cook until slightly shriveled, about 5 minutes. Add a splash of white wine (if using) and cook for another 1 – 2 minutes.
Drain the pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Add the pasta and parmesan and toss to coat, adding the reserved cooking water a bit at a time if it seems dry (if you used the wine you probably won’t need it). Transfer to a serving bowl and toss with the mozzarella, reserved bread crumbs and basil. Serve immediately.
This delicious recipe brought to you by Sheri Silver