Summer Tomato And Basil Spaghettini
- 2 1/2 pounds plum tomatoes
- 1 cup pitted Niçois or Kalamata olives halved
- 8 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup thinly-sliced fresh basil leaves
- 1/3 cup chopped shallots
- 1 cup coarse fresh breadcrumbs (made from crustless French bread)
- 1 pound spaghettini
- 8 ounces water-packed mozzarella cheese ball cut into strips
- 1 1/2 about 1 1/2" by 1/4" each
- Fresh basil sprigs for garnish
Cut a shallow X in skin of each tomato on side opposite stem. Bring large saucepan of water to boil. Drop in 3 tomatoes; cook 30 seconds. Using slotted spoon, transfer tomatoes to plate. Repeat with remaining tomatoes. When cool, peel tomatoes starting at X. Cut tomatoes in half horizontally; squeeze out seeds and juice. Chop tomatoes coarsely; transfer to large bowl. Mix in olives, 5 tablespoons oil, sliced basil, and shallots.
Heat remaining 3 tablespoons oil in heavy medium skillet over medium heat. Add breadcrumbs. Sauté until crisp and golden, about 5 minutes. Set aside.
Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain well. Add pasta to tomato mixture; toss to blend. Gently mix in cheese. Transfer pasta to serving bowl. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs; garnish with basil sprigs.
This recipe yields 6 first-course or 4 main-course servings.