Angel Hair Pasta With Tomatoes, Feta, and Pine Nuts
As soon as you can get your hands on some flavorful tomatoes, make this dish. It is so quick you won’t believe it. The hardest part is the prep. This dish is probably the “poster-child” for mise en place. It goes together so quickly that if you are still chopping you will either overcook or have a cold dish. Timing is key, but you will never have a better dish so quickly if you prep first.
Set a pot of water to boil. Toast your pine nuts – carefully please. Cook angel hair for a minute and a half – it will finish cooking in the skillet. About twenty-seconds for the shallots and garlic, another forty-five seconds to warm the tomatoes through, then off the heat toss in the other ingredients. Voila! You’re a chef. You cannot make it through the drive-thru as quick. And, you know just what is in this dish. Your welcome.
Grape or cherry tomatoes work well, but use the most flavorful tomatoes you can find.
Please be careful when toasting pine nuts. They are too expensive to burn.
Finish your meal with a good cup of coffee and a mini-dessert – preferably something lemon.
Fresh herbs can get expensive; may I suggest you check out propagating basil at The Café. Chris is a wizard at turning 1 plant into 12. I just bought a plant at Trader Joe’s for $2.99. I will be propagating this week – following her instructions I saw roots sprouting in 10 days.
You can top this pasta with some grilled shrimp or chicken, but I find it very satisfying as is. If you do not like feta, goat cheese would be an acceptable substitute.
Thank you Zov Karamardian for all the wonderful lunches I had at your restaurant. Thank you Chef John Mitzewich for reminding me to always warm our plates – he said nothing says you don’t care like serving your loved ones food on a cold plate. Thanks to Anne Burrell; she said when plating you should twist the pasta into a mound – it helps to hold the heat. I also heard Lidia Bastanich say the same – Anne worked for Lidia in her early days so maybe Lidia should be credited first, but I heard it first from Ann – thank you both.
And lastly, as the Louisiana French say, here is a little lagniappe for you. For those of you that avoid onions and garlic because they make your hands smell – you know who you are. After chopping or dicing onions or garlic run your hands under water with a piece of stainless steel, a spoon, a bowl, whatever you have that is stainless – no soap required. There seems to be some chemical reaction. Your hands will not smell of onion or garlic. Ok, now you’re welcome.
- 8 oz. angel hair pasta
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- ½ cup chiffonade basil
- 3 tablespoon chopped parsley
- 2 tablespoon minced garlic
- 2 tablespoon minced shallot
- 1 ½ pounds tomatoes – diced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¾ teaspoon pepper
- 1 cup coarsely crumbled feta
- ½ cup freshly shredded Parmesan
- ⅓ cup pine nuts - toasted
- ¼ cup shaved Parmesan
- mise en place ~ gather ingredient
- warm plates
- bring water to boil – add salt
- toast pine nuts – set aside
- coarsely crumble feta – set aside
- shave parmesan – set aside
- dice and deseed tomato – set aside
- mince garlic and shallot – set aside
- measure out parmesan – set aside
- chiffonade parsley and basil – set aside
- When pot of water it is boiling -
- Add oil to a skillet, when it shimmers, add shallots, just to soften.
- Add garlic – just until fragrant about 20 seconds – careful not to burn.
- Drop angel hair in the pot of salted boiling water for 1 minute to soften.
- Add diced tomatoes to skillet - just to warm through – about 45 seconds
- Off heat – Add in parsley, basil, crumbled feta, salt, and pepper – stir gently.
- Add a little pasta water if needed to loosen dish.
- Remove angel hair from boiling water; drop into skillet toss gently.
- Taste for salt – (remember feta can be salty)
- Place on a warmed plate – when plating use tongs; twist pasta into a mound – this will help hold the heat.
- Top with toasted pine nuts and shaved Parmesan.
- Your welcome.
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