- Campus copes with holiday grief
- New water plan saves big money
- Campus police offer holiday safety tips
- Alys Stephen Center Screens Walking the Camino: Six Ways to Santiago
- Hospital feeds underprivileged new moms
- UAB’s Alys Stephens Center presents Yo-Yo Ma Dec. 6
- Southern Miss tops Blazers, 62-27, in season ending game
- Henry Panion selected for 2014 Alabama African-American History Calendar
- Enjoy Christmas at the Alys Dec. 2, “The Season’s First Jingle”
- Engineering’s Ning wins ASTM International award
- Collat School of Business unveils sign at celebration
- Heudebert elected master by American College of Physicians
- Anti-aging strategies can improve more than looks
- On campus ‘blackout’ taken in stride
- Bariatric Surgery Services to present annual fashion show Nov. 25
Baked Caprese Rigatoni
Anyone who knows me knows that I’m very passionate about cooking and about food. I mean, hello! I write a freaking cooking column for the Kaleidoscope. But those who know me really well know that I’m very passionate about my family as well, even more so. I’m very proud of my family and how far we’ve come in life and how close we are. Yes, we fight occasionally and have our differences but at the end of the day there is no one there for you more than your family. My mother’s side of the family is Italian and my father’s is Russian. It’s because of my father and my grandmother that I was exposed to cooking so much. My dad would bake bread, cookies, cakes, pies, really anything he could put in the oven. My grandmother would make bread, cookies,cakes, pies AND anything under the sun that’s Italian. I grew up around so much Italian food that it’s a miracle I don’t reek of garlic and basil.
Because of my extreme exposure to Italian food, I have a special place in my heart for it. Whether it’s gourmet Italian or Stouffer’s four cheese frozen lasagna, I can’t get enough Italian food. My kryptonite when it comes to Italian food is pasta. I love pasta with a passion. When I think of sensual food for date night, I think of pasta. It’s raw and delicious and brings the heat. When I was younger I loved basic red tomato sauce and spaghetti noodles. That was my jam and I was okay with it. Then I got really into spaghetti with mushroom sauce and that was all I would touch for years. Fast forward to the present, and I and my taste pallet have matured to try new things and I’m more than happy to experiment with different pasta recipes.
I’ve tried to make several recipes with lots of vegetables involved. That’s another big change in my diet: I’ve fallen in love with vegetables and incorporating them into the dishes I make. One truly authentic Italian dish is insalata caprese. Insalata caprese is a salad with only three basic ingredients: basil, mozzarella, and tomatoes. That’s it. I know, sounds way too simple to be true but it exists and it is delicious. Happily enough, I stumbled across a recipe that combines my love of pasta with the divine simplicity of insalata caprese.
Baked Caprese Rigatoni
What You’ll Need
- 1 pound (two cups) uncooked Rigatoni pasta
- 6 small fresh tomatoes (preferably Roma tomatoes)
- 1 12-ounce can of diced or crushed tomatoes
- 2 1/2 cups of your favorite tomato sauce
- 1 small white onion (diced)
- 3 cloves of garlic (minced)
- 1/2 cup of fresh basil
- 1/2-1 cup grated Parmesan or mozzarella cheese (just depends on how cheesy you want it)
- salt and pepper
- olive oil
Cook your rigatoni and strain the pasta water. Set your pasta aside. Preheat your broiler. Heat your olive oil in a large skillet and saute your onions and garlic until fragrant. Add your crushed and fresh tomatoes, season with salt and pepper, and simmer with the lid covering it for about ten minutes. After it’s simmered, add half of your basil and let it continue to simmer. Remove the sauce from the heat and toss with the pasta. Pour the pasta and sauce mixture and mix in your favorite jarred tomato sauce. Next, top with the Parmesan/mozzarella cheese and place in the broiler for about 8-10 minutes or until the cheese has thoroughly melted and is bubbling. Top with the remaining basil and serve with a big glass of red wine. We are going for authentic Italian, aren’t we?
As the Italians say, felice mangiare! (Happy Eating!)