Urged on by the reappearance of Spring yesterday I decided to make a couple of dishes that showcased tomatoes and basil. What says springtime more than these two ingredients? I know that we can now get these ingredients all year round, but I think they taste so much better in springtime!
My first dish was to be Mozzarella with Fresh Tomato Pesto - I have had some Kumatos sitting on the bench ripening to perfection so I decided time was of the essence for this dish. Have you tried Kumatos? They are a strange colour, but have a lovely tomato flavour - and they are best served at room temperature - so this fresh pesto was a perfect dish for them.
Mozzarella with Fresh Tomato Pesto
1 tbs olive oil
1/2 clove crushed garlic (add more if you like)
2-3 tbs shredded basil leaves
salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 fresh mozzarella balls
1 tbs toasted pine nuts
1 tbs grated parmesan cheese
Cut the tomatoes in half, squeeze out the seeds and juice, then dice the flesh into small pieces.
Combine the diced tomato with the olive oil, garlic, basil and seasonings.
Drain the mozzarella balls, tear apart into "rustic pieces", season well with salt and pepper. Place in the centre of a plate.
Spoon the tomato pesto around the mozzarella, scatter with pine nuts and parmesan.
I served the pesto with some Turkish bread that I had sprayed with garlic olive oil spray, sprinkled with parmesan cheese and baked in the oven to 5 minutes to make it lovely and crispy.
This dish makes a lovely fresh entree, or a light main meal for two!
As I had all this lovely fresh basil I thought why not a prawn, tomato, and basil pasta. This recipe was featured in the October MasterChef magazine as the mystery box challenge. I have only "tweaked" it slightly.
Angel Hair Pasta with Prawns, Tomatoes and Basil
600g green prawns (peeled weight with tail on only)
1 red onion, finely chopped
2 cloves crushed garlic
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
275g cherry truss tomatoes, halved (I used 2 x 250g punnets cherry tomatoes)
1 cup basil leaves, roughly shredded
1 long red chilli, seeded finely sliced
1 lemon, zested, juiced
slug of white wine
400g angel hair pasta
Heat oil in large frying pan over high heat. Add onion and garlic, and cook for 4 minutes, or until the onion has softened. Add the celery, tomatoes, basil, chilli, lemon zest, cook stirring for 2-3 minutes, or until the tomatoes start to soften. Add the prawns, wine, and lemon juice, cook stirring occasionally for 5 minutes, or until the prawns are just cooked. Season with salt and pepper, then remove from the pan.
Cook the pasta according to packet directions. Drain well, reserving 2 tbs cooking water.
Add the pasta to the prawn mixture and place over medium high heat. Add the reserved cooking water and cook tossing for 3 minutes, or until warmed through and well combined.
Divide pasta among warmed bowls. Serve with grated parmesan cheese (though there are the purists that say parmesan doesn't go with seafood - but I love it!!)
So Dear Readers what ingredients do you love to cook with in Spring?