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Old 09-13-2006, 02:48 PM   #1
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Spiced Tomato Pesto with Cappalletti

Well, it's been a while since I've posted here. I've been refining this pasta recipe for some time now and I wanted to share it with everyone

Start with two pounds Cappalletti pasta (Tortellini works as well). I get mine from Assenti's Pasta Co. here in San Diego, which has a /killer/ Cappalletti with an amazing blend of cheeses in it that have a nigh upon perfect flavor. Anyway, get the water on the stove on high in preparation to cook the pasta.

Now, take two nice big tomatoes, or four romas and chop them up into 1/2 in chunks. You can peel them if you wish, but they do just fine with the skins on them. I *highly* recommend fresh tomatoes, as you will need to drain canned ones and they don't have the fresh flavor I prefer.

Once the tomatoes are chopped, take a 12" saucepan (I actually use a normal frying pan) and get it over medium heat, with enough fresh extra virgin olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan.

Take 8-10 cloves of fresh garlic and crush them on top of the tomatoes. Now add the tomatoes and garlic to the pan, but be careful of splatter from the tomato juice. I know it's a lot of garlic, and you can use less if you want, but it really is worth it ;)

Season liberally with:

Fresh ground pepper (1/4 tsp or a dash more)
Salt (1/4 tsp or a dash more)
Nutmeg (1-1.5 tsp)
Paprika (1-1.5 tsp, Hungary Half-Sharp if you can get it)
Red pepper flakes (1 tsp)

Turn the tomatoes and make sure the spices are mixed in completely. Keep turning them as they cook to soften all sides.

Now, toss the pasta into the boiling water (salt it if you want) and remove it when cooked. Once the pasta is done, the tomatoes should be nice and soft without having gotten mushy. Remove the spiced tomatoes from the heat while the pasta drains.

Now, take about 1 cup or more of fresh genovese pesto (I use Assenti's pesto, but homemade or trader joes both work great) and mix it with the sauce. Make sure that the heat is off!

Once mixed, put the pasta into a big bowl and put the sauce over it and toss together. Serve immediately and cover liberally with fresh grated parmesan, and you're done!

The finished taste is a somewhat spicy yet bursting with flavor pasta that just screams "seconds! thirds! eat it all!" -- each time I make it we end up consuming the entire thing that night!

Make sure to remember that overdoing the paprika results in a very sharp pasta that can leave too strong of an aftertaste, but underdoing it leaves the pasta lacking that spectrum of flavor as well. The portions I state are guesses actually I usually go by coating the tomatoes in a visible layer without covering them completely. Go ahead and try different portions of spices to make the right flavor for your own tastes.

This makes an excellent pasta salad the next day (or so my fiancee says) and keeps rather well, though the flavor changes markedly from the initial cooking.

This recipe is my pride and joy now, I hope you enjoy!

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Old 09-13-2006, 04:51 PM   #2
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Thanks so much for sharing this, copper! Sounds perfectly delish!
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Old 09-13-2006, 05:01 PM   #3
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Nice recipe Cooper..Thanks for sharing it with all of us.

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