Monday, July 9, 2007

Basil Pasta and Herb Bread.

Over the weekend I threw together an Angel Hair dish using lots of fresh Basil. I make this every summer as soon as the basil is ready to harvest, and we have it regularly until the basil is gone. We really enjoy it so I thought I would share it.

Angel Hair with Basil

1 lb. uncooked Angel Hair pasta
olive oil
fresh garlic cloves... I use about 4 (we like garlic okay?)
5-6 cups fresh tomatoes, seeded & diced
5 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
3/4 cup Parmesan Cheese
*scant 1 cup chicken broth & add to your broth......
salt and freshly ground pepper as you like & stir
  1. Cook pasta. Drain well. Do not rinse.
  2. While pasta is draining, add just enough olive oil to barely cover the bottom of the pot the pasta was in.
  3. Add all of the other ingredients in the order given.
  4. Add drained pasta, drizzle a little more oil over pasta, and toss to distribute all ingredients as evenly as possible.
  5. Empty all into a large bowl or Pasta serving dish.
  6. Garnish with top sprig of fresh basil.
Set out some crushed red pepper and extra Parmesan cheese. Bon Appetito!

I usually serve this with a simple salad and warm crusty bread with herb butter.
* You can substitute pasta water for the broth... it just is not as tasty.
Sorry no picture. I wasn't planning to post this recipe.... I'll get one next time.

Pasta Tip:
  • Drain pasta immediately and shake excess water out. General rule, rinse only if recipe say to.
  • Do not rinse pasta if it is headed for a dish that is going to be served immediately with sauce. The starch left on the pasta helps the sauce stick to it... very helpful with the more petite pastas such as Angel Hair.
  • Do rinse pasta if the noodles are wide like lasagna, jumbo shells or manicotti. These pastas are hard to handle and tear easier if not rinsed. Do rinse any pasta headed for a cold dish such as pasta salad. The starch left on the noodles is just slimy and gross when cold. Rinse in cold water. I throw ice cubes in the colander and toss about. This stops the cooking process, makes noodles easier to handle and gets the pasta colder, faster, and that is great for cold pasta salads.
More Herb Fun!

Last night while watering the herbs, they gave off the most beautiful aroma. They do that every time I water once they are mature. But last night, I could smell the marjoram. That herb is generally overpowered by the other more pungent ones. When I looked at the plant I noticed that it really needed cut back. Time to use the marjoram. I really enjoy that herb. So I put together a loaf of bread using some of it.

I made this loaf in my bread machine instead of by hand. And, to get a little racier... I even used the One-Hour feature. You may notice that the milk is hotter than you would normally use and the salt is scantier. Both are to accommodate the chemistry that has to be present if you are going to make and bake the loaf in one hour. Also, you can use Bread Flour, simply omit the wheat gluten. I just prefer use my own gluten and so I use all-purpose flour.

Tonight's Herb Bread

1 1/2 cups + 2 tablespoons whole milk... at least 115 F but no hotter than 125 F
2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons wheat gluten
2 tablespoons honey
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons dry yeast
1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh chive, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
3 teaspoons fresh marjoram, chopped

Use the directions needed for your bread machine. For mine, I put the ingredients in the bread machine in the order I gave them in. I have all of my ingredients measured out and ready to add because the milk will begin dropping in temperature as soon as it leaves the sauce pan it was heated in. Cooled milk... no yeast action. I make a well for the yeast in the middle of the flour. I add the salt to an outer corner because if the salt directly touches the yeast, it can retard the yeasts growth.

Loving the summer!!!! And, really I am an Autumn person... go figure. The herbs get me every time.


Miss Eagle said...

Scrumptious! My sort of tucker!

Blessings and bliss

Trish D said...

Mmmmmmmm... It all sounds absolutely scrumptious!