Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Pasta Al Forno with Tomatoes and Basil

Finally, our internet is back up, so I can blog again! We all had so much fun, it was really hard to come home to reality. I fell in love with New York and I feel like I left a piece of my heart there. Of course I still love LA, but it is sooo different than NYC, they can't be compared. Hopefully we will return soon! This post will be about all the awesome food we had on the trip.
My hubby and my siblings, toasting to our first night in NYC!
We were told by many to have a burger at the Shake Shack. My brother's 3 main food groups are burgers, pizza, and beer, so this was a must. It was enjoyable, but didn't come close to Umami Burger.
We headed over to Serendipity after the Shake Shack to have their famous Frozen Hot Chocolate. I have their cookbook and have blogged about this recipe before. They are sooo delicious!

 One of my favorite stops was Eataly. Mario Batali opened this Italian market. It is huge! We were in a hurry when we got there, so we didn't get to spend as much time as I would have liked. 
 This was their homemade pasta bar! I wanted to try everything in it!!
 Their deli where we sampled many cheeses and took back to our hotel the best prosciutto I have ever tasted, along with cheese, honey and bread that I ate for breakfast every morning.
 One night we went to Angelo's in Little Italy. This place just celebrated their 110th anniversary! It was incredible.
 I had the Manicotti.
 One of the coolest parks I have ever been to was the Highline. An old railroad track above street level that has been converted into a 15 block walking path and garden. Along the walk we stopped at one of the Popsicle stands. Ivy had Mexican Chocolate.
 Jeffrey had Pineapple Jalapeno. I am searching for this recipe now, it was divine!
 Next stop was Chelsea Market. This place is full of shopping, food markets, restaurants, etc. Also, somewhere I could have stayed all day.
We found a fish market that was selling lobsters to take and eat right out on the picnic tables. We got 2 huge ones for our lunch!
 I ate every piece of meat out of those buggers. 
 For his second main food group, my Bubba requested (no begged) that we visit the first official pizza joint in the US, Lombardi's. We walked a long way and I was annoyed to do it, but it was fun once we got there and the pizza was delicious!
 We had several people give us names of places to eat while we were there. Out of all the restaurants this one was at the top. Jane in SoHo. It was great food with amazing prices. One of the best dishes I have ever tasted was their Toasted Gnocchi. It had some sort of garlic white sauce over it, I can't even describe it. If you have a chance to go there, get this dish!
 My mom and siblings arrived in NYC several hours before us so they ate at this neat pizza place by our hotel. They raved about it the whole trip, so we had to make a stop there before leaving. Our waiter, Vinny, was so sweet, he remembered my family coming in a few days earlier. He let us take pictures in the back with their pizza oven.
Jeffrey loves to make silly faces in photos. I don't even pay attention any more, haha!
 Not only were they sooo friendly at Capizzi's, the pizza was devine!! This was an arugula and proscuitoo pizza. We also had an asparus and white truffle pizza and some kind of meat one. This is another place you should go when you head to NYC. In fact, if you need an itinerary, let me know. I spent several hours planning the trip and even made a map. All in all we got to most of our stops and had a blast, more about it tomorrow.

Now onto a post with my food. This is one of my new favorite recipes. My mom sent me an Italian cook book several weeks ago called Scotto Sunday Suppers, that I have been cooking my way through. I took this dish to my Bible Study Fellowship dinner tonight the girls ate it up. They were asking if I had posted it yet, so I knew I needed to put it up fast. The ingredients are simple, but it makes for a delicious authentic Italian dish.

 Pasta Al Forno with Tomatoes and Basil
1/2 pound pasta
1/2 cup olive oil, split
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
3/4 cup basil, julienned
2 Tbsp chopped garlic
6-9 plum tomatoes (I used 9 the second time I made this because I wanted more sauce.)
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 stick butter
salt and pepper 

Preheat your oven to 250. Spread bread crumbs on the baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes, or until golden. After removing the bread crumbs, turn the heat up to 350.
Slice basil and mince garlic.
In a skillet heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil, 1 Tbsp of garlic and 1/4 cup of basil. Cook until garlic is toasted. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes.
Add garlic/basil infused oil to bread crumbs, stir to incorporate all of the oil into the crumbs.
Bring a pot of water to boil. Place tomatoes into boiling water for 1 minute.
Remove from boiling water and place them into ice water to stop the cooking process.
There is not a picture of this, but I used the same pot of boiling water for the tomatoes, to start cooking the pasta. If you want a whole new pot of boiling water for the pasta that is fine too, but start cooking it now!

The skins will peel off easily now! Peel the skins from the tomatoes, remove their seeds and then dice them.

Heat remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil in a skillet (if you are like me you will use the same skillet as before to reduce dishes). Add remaining 1 tbsp of minced garlic to the oil and cook until golden.
Add tomatoes and basil to the pan, season with salt and pepper.

Simmer for about 5-7 minutes or until tomatoes begin to break down.
Grate parmesan.
Stir half the parmesan and half the butter into cooked and drained pasta. Season with salt and pepper.
Place noodles into the bottom of a baking dish.
Top with tomato/basil sauce.
Sprinkle with all of the bread crumbs, then the remaining parmesan and finally the remaining butter cut into pieces.
Bake for 15 minutes.
This is divine!

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