Ready for another challenge assignment from ladies of The Inspired Plate? I can’t believe it’s already venturing into the latter part of April….I’m not sure where the heck time went.
Anyway, this month is all about styling and photographing a pasta dish. I looove pasta as most folks do so I was looking forward to this assignment. But what to make???? And what would photograph well?? Since it’s spring and has been consistently in the 80s here in Florida for weeks, the thought of a heavy or rich pasta dish didn’t seem quite appealing, so I developed an easy recipe – Ditalini Caprese - which can be served warm or at room temperature and is light and fresh in taste. And – it’s KID-FRIENDLY which is (unfortunately still) an important feature at our house. There is ALWAYS fresh mozzarella in our fridge – yes, always. I made the mistake of running out once or twice and it was not a good thing according to my 12 year old son. You see, I somehow managed to get him to try it way back when (and he liked it!) and it’s part of the reason that he warmed up to eating salads. So now if it’s left out of a salad, uh-oh. Oh he’ll still eat it, but it’s not quite the same.
Okay, on to the recipe and photos….
- 2 cups dried ditalini pasta or other small shape
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
- 2 large, ripe tomatoes, cored, seeds removed, and chopped in a 1/2-inch dice
- 7 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, chopped in a 1/2-inch dice
- 10 fresh basil leaves (stack leaves, roll up like a cigar, then thinly slice across into little “chiffonade” ribbons)
- coarse salt for water and to season pasta
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add a hefty pinch of salt, and add the ditalini pasta and stir. Cook according to package instructions, approximately 9-10 minutes. Drain, reserving about 1/2 cup of the past cooking water. Set aside.
In a large saute pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute for about a minute. (Don’t let it burn) Add the tomatoes and cook until just heated through, about a minute or so. Add the cooked pasta, toss to combine, and add a bit of the reserved cooking water to moisten. Remove from the heat and add the cheese, basil, coarse salt, and freshly ground pepper.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
Makes 6-8 servings
It’s really delicious for lunch, a side dish, or a take-along to gathering.
Here is a pullback of the final shot:
My settings on manual were f/4.0, shutter 1/125, and ISO 250. I was in the shade in the front area of my garage, with my diffuser panel handy to diffuse the strong mid-morning sun. In hindsight, I feel the green of the plate clashes with the green of the basil, so another lesson learned. As always, things look different in different types of light!
Do you use a garlic press? I had one years ago and then at some point they didn’t seem to be “cool” anymore. I don’t know what happened to mine – it probably got sold along with all of my *ahem* valued food props when my husband commissioned an estate sale for much of the contents of our NY house, along with the contents of his parent’s house . I still don’t think I’ve quite gotten over that! Although I generally mince my garlic with a knife, I did pick up a new press at some point in time.
As always, our blogs are linked to form a circle. Please continue on to see what pasta dishes the rest of our group styled and shot, starting with Jennifer Olson | San Luis Obispo, CA Photographer. She’s darn good at making food look scrumptious.