First, let me just update you about Bunky and kindergarten. If you’ve been following my insanity here, you know I’ve been kind of a mess leading up to the big day. Well, you’ll be happy to know all my worrying was a waste of time (as worrying pretty much always is). Day 1 went well, and though there have been some minor bumps and adjustments, things are pretty awesome. Fingers crossed it continues to be.
Fall is nearly upon us, at least here in New York. And so is apple picking season, yay!
The air is all crispy and so are the leaves. Little Guy is loving how they crunch under his feet. The look on his face when he saw the playground covered with fallen leaves was priceless. And don’t even get me started on what he thinks about pumpkins. I think I have another fall fan here.
Fall is about pumpkins, apples, and let’s not forget about pie. Fall is savory stews and soups and maybe, just maybe, using my five year old crockpot for the first time. Fall is the time for hunkering down, cuddling up, and wearing thick socks inside (especially when you live above your apartment’s parking garage). Fall is about tucking in for winter.
But first, while we hover on the cusp of the seasons, let’s squeeze in one last summer recipe before the pumpkin recipes start rolling in. Let’s be honest, they already are rolling in, because pumpkin recipes rock, but so do ones with tomatoes. Am I right?
This recipe is an old standby for us, and was in our gluten days. The first time I made this GF it was a disaster. The rice pasta was slimy and disgusting. I remember shoveling it into my mouth with a forced smile. No one was fooled. I don’t think I made it again for a year. But that was way back when I didn’t know how to cook GF pasta. Or which kinds to buy. But I do now. We either use Bionaturae or Farabella penne, but pick your own fave.
I don’t have exact measurements because this is the kind of recipe you taste along the way. Some people may like more or less balsamic vinegar, for example, so start with less and add if necessary. The less liquid-y this meal is, the better.
You can also add a couple of cooked chicken breasts cubed, for some animal protein, which my husband likes, but I prefer it without. Your call.
Fresh Mozzarella and Tomato Pasta
- 1 bag of GF pasta, we like penne
- vine ripened tomatoes, 4-6 depending on the size – or whatever tomatoes you find at your local farmer’s market
- 1 ball of fresh mozzarella, the tastiest you can find
- fresh basil, roughly chopped
- balsamic vinegar
- extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper, to taste
1. Cook the pasta NOT according to the directions (ha) but the way you KNOW works. I often cook ours significantly less than the package says. When it doubt, test it after about 6-8 minutes. You don’t want it overcooked. Blecch. Drain water using a colander and run the pasta under cool water to stop it from cooking, and then add a glug or two of olive oil so it doesn’t stick inside the colander. Check out this link and this one for some advice on cooking GF pasta successfully. It is NOT necessarily intuitive.
2. Chop tomatoes into small-ish cubes. You may want to get ride of some if not most of the juicy seeds and innards so your final dish isn’t too soupy. Put into a large bowl.
3. Cube up fresh mozzarella. Try not to eat too much of it while doing so. Add to the bowl.
4. Make sure pasta is cooled (so as not to melt the cheese) and add to bowl as well.
5. Now it’s time to make the magic happen. Carefully add a glug or two of balsamic vinegar. Then the olive oil. Mix and taste. Add more of one or both if necessary. The balance of acid and oil is key and particular to your own palate. Trust yourself, here. You can’t go too wrong. Add salt and pepper to taste.
6. Finally, toss the chopped basil and mix gently.
Dinner is served. Easy and delicious. (As long as you’re not me two years ago gagging down squishy overcooked GF pasta. I shiver just thinking about it.)
Now, before we say farewell to summer, please enjoy my children as sand creatures.
And her mostly companion. (That’s from Eloise, if you don’t know.)
Oh, I will miss summer.
But here’s hoping fall will be pretty great, too.