Thursday, April 21, 2011

8 minute (or so) Pomodoro Penne with Herb-Garlic Compound Butter

A frantic lunchtime was the inspiration for this recipe today. A lightning-fast, full-flavoured pasta dish that can be made in no time, and it is so delicious!

The base sauce is halved cherry tomatoes (although wedges of regular tomatoes work too), sauteed with olive oil and shallots (or onions and/or minced garlic). The heat quickly breaks down the tomatoes, releasing juices and dainty seeds to make an instant rustic sauce. A dash of pasta water brings it all together, before adding the pasta. The compound butter was a last minute flash of an idea, it adds specks of green and a light garlic aroma (and the richness of butter!). I was able to do a first harvest of my herb garden - chives, tarragon, and parsley, making it even more tasty.

For a spicier sauce, add a dash or two of hot pepper flakes to the hot oil and shallots.

My camera has malfunctioned, so you will be treated to the worst photos in blogging history, courtesy of my Blackberry.

8 Minute (or so) Pomodoro Penne with Herb-Garlic Compound Butter
Serves 2, or more as a side dish

2 cups penne (or other pasta of choice)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small shallot (or half small onion), thinly sliced or minced
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved (larger tomatoes, quarter at least)
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
freshly grated Parmesan cheese

For the compound butter (makes extra, great for garlic toast; freezes well):
Combine together:
2 tablespoon butter
1/4 teaspoon (or to taste) kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon (or to taste) freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon minced fresh herbs (chives, tarragon, parsley, etc.)
1 small clove garlic, finely minced

Boil a larger saucepan of salted water, and cook pasta according to directions.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add shallots, a pinch of salt and pepper, and saute for 1 minute.

Add the tomatoes, and saute until tomatoes breakdown to make a sauce, about 5 minutes. Add a 1/4 cup of pasta water (from the currently cooking pasta), and simmer to reduce slightly. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Drain pasta and toss with sauce in pan to coat. Throw a nubbin (a tablespoon or more) of herb butter, and toss until it melts. The herbs distribute, and the sauce has a lovely glisten to it. Plate (or dish) and serve with Parmesan.
A delicate sauce in the making

Pre-butter toss - things are about to get real tasty!

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