Tuesday, January 21, 2014

pinoli pasta bake

This is our knock off of a delicious pasta they used to serve at Firehouse, one of our favorite local eats. Derek especially loved it and would get it almost all the time. We thought we'd give it a go and try our own version. It wasn't quite the same, but it was pretty close- and quite tasty! (I think their tomatoes are better- see Note.) Still, this version was a major hit with the whole family! We will definitely be making this again!

RECIPE: Pinoli Pasta Bake

Yield: 8 servings
Calories: 690

3 oz raw pine nuts
16 oz trumpet/twists pasta
2/3 c (?) fresh basil, cut into strips
5ish oz sun-dried tomatoes (in oil), chopped*
1 lb fresh Mozzarella cheese, cut up 
10 oz Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing
2 Tbs (?) Balsamic vinegar 

Note: Firehouse used "roasted marinated tomatoes," and they're amazing. We'll have to try that sometime!

Preheat oven to 400F. Put a med pot of water (salted) on to boil. 

Toast the pine nuts. {I do this by dry heating the pine nuts in a frying pan over medium heat, stirring constantly.} Set aside. Dice up the sun-dried tomatoes and mozza, if needed. Also set aside.

Once water is boiling, cook pasta -- only for 8ish minutes, though. It'll cook further in the oven. Drain.

Toss the pasta in the vinaigrette until well coated. Splash in some balsamic vinegar as well. Put half of the pasta into baking dish. Toss in half of the pine nuts, tomatoes, basil and cheese. Dump in the remaining pasta/sauce mix. Top with the rest of the toppings. Bake at 400F until cheese is melted, bubbled and brown (about 15 min).

Drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Maybe add some basil for prettiness' sake. Serve warm.