Thursday, 9 August 2012

The Penne is Tastier than the Sauce

Penne Integrale con Rucola Saltata, Pomodorini Tostate e Burrata
Wholemeal Penne, Wilted Arugula, Roasted Tomatoes + Burrata

Oh, I hate to do gratuitous advertising, but this meal was brought to you courtesy of one of the cute Barilla girls that were handing out free samples of their wholemeal penne in Frankfurt this Saturday. I did the only thing that was proper and fitting and took a box home with me... and transformed it into this yummy meal this evening!

I like wholemeal pasta- it has a nice "nutty" flavor to it and is particularly good for making pasta salad- which is what this might have ended up being, only I was impatient and just plain starving and I gobbled it down before it was fully cooled! But either way, it was a great alternative to those rich tomato or cream sauces and simply delicious!

I boiled the pasta according to the instructions- 8 minutes it said on the box- so I made sure to have the broiler turned on and to be ready for action whilst that water was boiling!

The first thing I did was to toast the sunflower seeds in a dry pan- just long enough to turn them slightly golden. Pine nuts are wonderful, but I love sunflower seeds too- the remind me of the fields back home in Sicily!

Next thing I did was to heat up a splash of olive oil, to add a little finely chopped garlic and to quickly sautée the arugula for 2-3 minutes, until it had wilted, become a rich, deep green and then set it to one side.

At this point, the pasta went into the pot- and the cherry tomatoes went into the frying pan! I halved the tomatoes and sprinkled them with sugar, salt and pepper, gave them a light splash of olive oil, added a little crushed garlic and briefly sautéed them for 1-2 minutes... the rest of the time, they toasted under a hot broiler whilst I put together the rest of the meal!

The only other ingredients were a finely chopped Spring onion, which I added raw for some freshness and texture and a little fresh Burrata mozzarella. To assemble the dish, I drained the pasta and added a good splash of balsamic vinegar and a little olive oil whilst it was still piping hot. I also added the onion and stirred everything together well- there is enough heat in the pasta to "take the edge" from the onion and to make it a little milder and sweeter. I arranged the wilted arugula and pasta evenly on my dish and then brought out the steaming hot and beautifully charred tomatoes. I sprinkled everything with the sunflower seeds and after a few minutes of cooling, tore the burrata into small pieces and added this evenly on top- not too much mind!

I seasoned with a little ground pepper and chili, a last pinch of salt, a drop or two of olive oil... and filled myself a glass of Nero d'Avola to go with it. Yes, supper was good tonight! Easy, delicious, fun- and free!

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