Cherry Tomato and Mozzarella Pasta

I had a lot of fresh cherry tomatoes from my garden and a container of fresh mozzarella.  I wanted to make a pasta that I could have for lunches throughout the week.  It is very similar to the sauce I made with the banana peppers, but this one I didn’t blend.  I’ve seen Giada DeLaurentiis make a pasta similar to this on the food network with the fresh cheese, and it looked delicious. I don’t know what her recipe was, but I did what I felt tasted right.

Materials:

  • 1 pint to a pint and a half cherry tomatoes
  • 3 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 C chicken stock
  • 1 t tomato powder (see analysis at bottom) OR 1 t tomato paste
  • 8 oz container fresh baby mozzarella, drained and cut in half
  • 1 lb. fusilli pasta
  • 1/4 C roughly chopped basil
  • 2 T roughly chopped oregano
  • Salt, pepper, garlic power to taste

Procedure:

1. Put a pot of water onto boil (filled 3/4 of the way).  Once boiling, cook pasta according to instructions.

2. Warm the olive oil in a large skillet on medium high heat, and then gently put the tomatoes in.  Add a few pinches each of salt, garlic powder and pepper (you can add more seasoning to taste later). Stir occasionally.

3. Once tomatoes burst/ split and start to cook down, start smashing them with the back of your spoon so they release all their juices.  Once all are smashed, turn heat down to medium.

4. Pour in chicken stock and scrape any bits that might have gotten stuck to the bottom of the pan.  Once done, add your tomato powder (or tomato paste).

5. Stir until mixed well.  Toss in basil and oregano, and stir to incorporate.  Taste to see if there needs to be more salt or pepper.  Cook for 5 more minutes

6. Once pasta is cooked, drain and put back in large pot.  Pour sauce into large pot and toss in mozzarella cheese.  Mix all together and put lid on so cheese gets warm and melts into the pasta.  The noodles will also soak up the sauce and get stuck in the spiral of the pasta.  Enjoy!

Printable Recipe!

Observations:  I felt the sauce turned out delicious, but I had an issue with the mozzarella. The mozzarella melted nicely and was a nice compliment to the pasta.  However, when eating leftovers, the cheese kept re-melting together.  It made a giant mozzarella goo-ball (yes this is a technical term).  

Analysis: Next time I make this, I will probably toss the mozzarella in as I heat up batches in the microwave for leftovers.  I think adding all of it at once was a bit much.  The reason I feel the sauce turns out so awesome is because of the pure tomato powder, which is pictured to the right.  I bought this at The Spice House in Evanston, IL.  They have several other locations as well.  You mix it with a little bit of water and it creates a natural tomato paste that is an amazing thickener for sauce.  It almost gives it a creamy texture without compromising flavor.

 

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