Inspired by the rhythm of the season, tomatoes, arugula and basil have made their way into almost every dish I’ve been consuming over the last 2 months. The synergy of these three ingredients is sublime! Fantastic piled high on fresh out of the oven pizza Marguerite, layered into a Panini alongside plump slices of bocconcini, rolled up in a hummus-wrap…well, you get the idea.
And in this dish, take your 3-way combo, add on the black olives, and the Asiago – well, it morphs from pure goodness into inspirational. Toss in the penne al-dente and you’ll find that it adds the perfect balance of carbs. Then, finish it all off with some good quality balsamic and evoo. And there you have it … a magnificent dish … no, no…not just magnificent…it’s transcendental. Oh yes…most definitely. It’s one of those dishes I’ll unquestionably include in my book What You Must Eat Before You Die(t)…when I write it.
So promise you’ll try this dish, at least just once, and don’t forget the vino. Write to me, talk to me, tell me how much you love it too.
Lastly, don’t fuss over the measurements, let yourself go and get into the Mediterranean food zone. As always, be sure to purchase high quality ingredients, conduct your mise en place with love, respecting the personae of each and every ingredient. Then toss them together gently and gingerly before serving. If you’re entertaining, make it a day ahead to encourage flavor infusion. IF you have leftovers, this dish holds its integrity for 1-2 days.
Penne, strawberry tomatoes, baby arugula, black olives and shaved Asiago salad
3 cups penne, cooked al dente
1-1/2 cups strawberry tomatoes, sliced – this is a regional variation of cherry tomatoes. Can sub it with cherry or teardrop tomatoes
½ cup black olives, slivered
3 cups organic baby arugula
1 cup fresh basil leaves, hand torn
3 cloves garlic, germs removed, grated
¼ cup balsamic
¼ cup evoo
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
All the shaved Asiago you want – go for it!
Toss everything but the Asiago together, season to taste. Fold in the shaved Asiago and serve.
Buono appetito my fellow gourmands!