In the last couple years I've been making fresh pasta at home and forgoing the dry varieties from the store. However every now and then something sneaks up on me. While in the grocery store this weekend I caught these tiny little pastas "acini de pepe" (or pastina) out of the corner of my eye. On a whim I brought them home and after cooking them up, mixing in a little ricotta and olive oil and serving alongside some roasted tomatoes I had a literal, "where have you been all my life" moment. So if you need a virtual hug through dinner please don't hesitate to pick up your own bag of pastina and follow suit with the recipes below!
This Week's Share: Salad Greens, Chinese Cabbage, Green Beans, Eggplant, Zucchini or Squash, Cucumber, Mint, Beets, Red Onions, Jalepenos, Tomatoes
Roasted Tomatoes with Pastina
The simplest of dishes sooth the soul. Even if you don't realize at the time that you need soothing, a magical blanket of well being covers you when eating this.
Tomatoes: Halve or quarter whatever quantity of tomatoes you have on hand. If you have huge heirlooms you may need to cut up into 8ths or so. Place in one layer in a baking pan and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Tuck in a few whole peeled cloves of garlic too. Cook at 400 for about 45 minutes, depending on how juicy the tomatoes are. Paste tomatoes have relatively little juice so they will start to get nice and carmelized and jammy, whereas big juicy heirlooms will need to go a little longer for the same effect. Unless you want a saucier, more liquid, less jammy end product. When these come out of the oven stir in a few tablespoons of thinly sliced basil.
Pastina: Boil a good amount of water with salt and cook pasta until al dente, drain, leaving little extra cooking water. Stir in a dab of butter and a spoonful of soft ricotta, season with salt & pepper and top with grated parmesan.
Serve in a pastina in a shallow bowl with a spoonful of roasted tomatoes on the side.
Ratatouille and Pastina: Add chopped onions, garlic, eggplant, zucchini and peppers with your tomatoes and roast together. Serve in the same way.
The pastina is very similar to cous cous, which is often my go-to to serve with ratatouille. So you can use in other instances as a substitute for cous cous.
If you have unexpected company you can easily turn your ratatouille & pasta into a rich delicious soup by adding some beautiful bone broth or chicken stock.
I admit that during these hot days of summer, turning the oven on to 400 degrees at dinner time is not really my favorite thing to do. Over the weekend I used the cool morning hours to roast things and then have them ready in the fridge to quickly heat up at dinner time.