About this time of year the reality of shorter days catches up with me. Winter looms here on the east coast, and crisp days of fall are slipping to the days where the sky looks like old, dried paste. Which is also what I’m using to make this year’s costume for my youngest, who is dressing up as a…ketchup bottle (think: red turtleneck, white homemade chef hat, pasted on label the 6-year-old made). So I make this pasta dish with the last burst of summer tomatoes and think back on summer.
Pasta with Fresh Mozzarella, Arugula, Peas, and Heirloom Tomatoes
This is one of those great meals that incorporates your sides and salads into the main dish. If you have good olive oil someone gave you from a gift basket and you’ve been saving it, break it out for this dish. Same thing with your balsamic. I like the mixed cherry heirlooms for this because their of the colors – stormy purples, life vest orange, and yellow. But any ripe ones will work well.
1 lb pasta (spaghetti is great)
2 tbsp sea salt (for pasta water) plus a bunch extra for seasoning
2 tsp balsamic cream – if you can find this, great. Otherwise melt 1 tbsp butter into 1 tbsp balsamic and heat until slightly thicker
8 oz fresh mozzarella, cut into rough cubes
Boil a big pot of water and salt very well. Cook pasta according to your taste – I prefer al dente, and the pasta will keep cooking so you want to slightly undercook it for this recipe. Add peas at last few minutes to warm them. Drain pasta and peas. Add olive oil and toss. Add baby arugula, toss gently, and put on low heat, covered. Meanwhile, cut the very ends off the tomatoes and halve them. Salt well with any good, flaky salt – about 1 teaspoon. Mix with your hands to coat. Add balsamic cream to tomatoes. Add tomatoes and cheese to pasta/greens mixture. Gently mix and serve warm. *If you want a little added extra, try a small portion of wild salmon baked for 15 minutes with salt and olive oil.