Monday, March 22, 2010

With a cherry on top...

A cherry tomato that is.

When I taught middle school, January and February were the hardest months.  It seemed that everyone had the winter doldrums.  There was little wind in the sails to move the days along.  Once March and April arrived, everyone was infected with spring (and summer) fever, and it was equally difficult to draw the attention of young minds.  These past few days, I have found myself equally distracted by the beauty and life all around.  I love my classes and am immensely thankful that I have this opportunity, but I am so thankful for the weekend.  It is the time to stop and look around at magnificence, to enjoy friends, to spend time with my husband.    

This weekend was exceptionally glorious; the beauty all around just begged to be celebrated.  And so we did.  We celebrated Friday night with a date night.  I celebrated Saturday with a leisurely brunch outside with a good friend, a long walk outside (a first in a long time), and some alfresco reading.   I celebrated Saturday night by opening the windows in our apartment to enjoy the slight cool breeze and listen to the neighborhood children learning how to play backyard baseball.  My husband and I celebrated Sunday by worshipping with brothers and sisters at church, enjoying their company at lunch, and then strolling down the main street of our neighborhood.  I love moments and days like these.  

As I dive headfirst into another school-week (only four more days until spring break, but who's counting?), I'm going to leave you with our date-night meal.  The combination of oven dried tomatoes, crisp-tender asparagus, basil, and boursin cheese was so fresh. 

Bow-Tie Pasta with Oven-Dried Tomatoes, Asparagus and Boursin

Adapted from Bride & Groom, First and Forever

For the oven-dried tomatoes:

10-12 cherry tomatoes, halved
3 garlic cloves
1-2 teaspoons olive oil
small pinch sugar
pinch salt
4 basil leaves, julienned

Preheat the oven to 225.  In a small baking pan (I used a round cake pan), place the cherry tomato halves, cut side up.  Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with sugar, salt and pepper.  Sprinkle with basil.  Tuck the garlic cloves in between the tomatoes.  Bake for 3 1/2 hours.  The tomatoes should be shriveled, but still have some moisture.  Refrigerate tomatoes and garlic until ready to use.

(Recipe continued below)

For the pasta:

1/3 cup pine nuts
8 oz bow tie pasta
1 bunch asparagus, ends trimmed, and cut into 2-3 inch pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 roasted garlic cloves, chopped
oven roasted cherry tomatoes
1 tablespoon fresh basil, julienned
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup garlic and herb boursin cheese, crumbled (a good herb goat cheese will work, too)
3/4 teaspoon lemon pepper
kosher salt and pepper

Place a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Cook the pine nuts in the dry skillet, shaking or stirring the pan constantly, until the pine nuts are slightly brown on all sides.  Remove to a bowl. 

In the same saucepan, bring six cups of well-salted water to a boil.  Add the pasta and cook for 8 minutes.  Add the asparagus and cook for two more minutes.  Reserve 2/3 cups pasta water and drain the pasta and asparagus in a colander. 

In the same saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, then add the tomatoes to warm through.  Add the pasta, asparagus and reserved water, tossing to combine.  Add the basil, cheeses, lemon pepper, and pine nuts.  Toss everything together and taste for salt and pepper. 

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Anonymous said...

I know my husband would adore this dish. Thanks!

Jen said...

Looks delicious... so colorful!

Avril Miller said...

Beautifully delicious looking! :-)

Sarah Barry said...

so colorful.

looks delicious.

your food photography is amazing.

Raina said...

That looks great! Thanks for the recipe.

Diane {} said...

yum! I love pasta and your tomatoes look so delicious! I can't wait to scroll through your blog and see more. Stop by if you have a chance to visit

ashley said...

looks delish! its so colorful!

Stephanie said...

Yum!! I just changed out menu to incorporate this this week! I can't wait. LOVE your photography!