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Pasta with fresh Tomatoes, Mozzarella and Basil

01 August 2014 / 08:08:25  GRReporter
2255 reads

Danielle Lachana

 

Italy is well known for its many 'feste' (festivals) and in particular those known as 'sagre'. The sagre are local fairs which highlight fresh local and seasonal produce. They are often accompanied by music, dancing and even sporting events, but food remains the protagonist and the name of each sagra takes that of the food it is showcasing.

Today's recipe was inspired by the upcoming (2, 3, 4  August) 'Sagra del Fiordilatte' in Agerola, Naples, one of many sagre taking place in August in the region of Campania http://www.fiordilattefiordifesta.it/edizione-2014.html. Campania in general is renowned for its wonderful fresh Mozzarella and Fiordilatte cheeses. Fiordilatte is similar to Mozzarella but is only ever made from cow's milk (as opposed to buffalo milk) and is usually slightly sweeter in taste. You can see some of the food on offer here, with the accent on cheese  http://www.fiordilattefiordifesta.it/edizione-2014/il-menu-2014.html

As is true of all recipes using few ingredients it is the quality of those ingredients that is essential - so use mozzarella in brine, ideally from buffalo milk, if you can.

Buffalo milk Mozzarella and Fusilli pasta

 

Any kind of tomatoes can be used, large or small, from beef tomatoes to cherry tomatoes, but they must be ripe, sweet and juicy. Fresh basil adds depth of flavour. If you do not like capers, you can omit them, in which case I suggest adding 1 tbsp of balsamic vinegar to the tomatoes for that extra 'zing' or, alternatively, for garlic lovers, 2 cloves of crushed garlic.

It really is worth taking the time to allow the tomatoes to macerate with the other ingredients for this simple, but highly flavoursome, dish.

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RECIPE

(Serves 4 - 6)

 

 

 METHOD

Briefly dip the tomatoes in boiling water and then in cold so it is easy to remove the skins by peeling them off. Slice in half and remove some of the seeds but try to keep some of the juice. Finely dice the tomatoes and put them with their juice in a large bowl. Add the oil, oregano, basil, capers, 2 tbsp of the Parmesan cheese, the salt and pepper.

Cover the bowl, refrigerate and leave to macerate for around 2 hours if you have time so that the flavours can fully develop.

Cook the pasta in abundant salted boiling water until 'al dente' (firm to the bite) then drain and add to the bowl with the tomato mixture.  Finely slice the Mozzarella, drained if in brine, and add to the pasta. Stir well to thoroughly combine and so that the Mozzarella can start to melt.

Sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan to serve.

Enjoy this refreshing summer dish!

Tags: Pasta Italian recipes Mediterranean Recipes Mozzarella Naples Campana
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