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! 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

3 oz raw pine nuts
16 oz cellentani/radiatore pasta
2/3 c fresh basil, cut into strips
4 oz (1/2 jar) sun-dried tomatoes (in oil), chopped
8 oz fresh Mozzarella Pearls 
6-8 oz Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing
2 Tbs Balsamic vinegar 

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. Add in the tomatoes, basil, mozza and half the toasted pine nuts. Dump it all into a baking dish (9x13 or other). Top with the rest of the pinenuts. 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.

Side Notes: 

My preferred balsamic dressing (I use 1/2 to 2/3 of the bottle) is

If you can't find Mozerella Pearls, you can just get fresh mozza and cut/tear it into pieces. I love the pearls, though, as I'm lazy. (You can find these in the deli section of most grocery stores.)

And most ingredients here are "ish" amounts. Add or subtract according to your own preferences.