Baked Pasta with Fresh Tomatoes and Smoked Mozzarella
Yield: 4 to 8 servingsSmoked mozzarella and ripe plum tomatoes make this summer pasta casserole unforgettable. A great dish for entertaining, it can be prepared a day ahead, refrigerated, and brought to room temperature before baking. Add a green salad and a bottle of wine for a spectacular dinner, or serve this special pasta dish as an appetizer or side dish for a larger meal.
Ingredients:4 tablespoons olive oil
1 red onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
5 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
16 ounces dried linguine or vermicelli
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
8 ounces smoked mozzarella cheese, cubed
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
Instructions:In a skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of the oil over low heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute for about 5 minutes or until the onion is transparent. Add the tomatoes and saute for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water according to the package directions. Drain and toss with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Place in a large mixing bowl.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Add 1/4 cup of the melted butter, plus the tomato-onion mixture, the cheese, and the parsley, to the pasta. Toss well. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon into a greased 2-quart casserole. Combine the remaining 1/4 cup melted butter with the bread crumbs and sprinkle on top.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Place under the broiler for 30 seconds to brown the bread crumbs just before serving.