29 January 2011

pasta with caprese sauce and pan fried garlic toasts

pasta with caprese sauce and pan fried garlic toasts

I'm going to make this my special celebratory dinner. The first time I made it was during a really happy week, and the other time was yesterday night, when I bought a domain for She Runs, She Eats! I've referred to myself as the Running Foodie for years now, especially since it was part of the address of my blog, and it will still remain part of the address but without the blogspot part. You don't need to worry about changing your feeds because the old address redirects (I'm still with Blogger).

One of Foodbuzz' partners is Frigidaire, the makers of amazing kitchen and house appliances. Frigidaire has started the Frigidaire Kid's Good-For-You Cooking Academy as a way to raise money for Save the Children. Every time you visit the site Frigidaire will donate $1 to Save the Children to help provide nutritious snacks and promote awareness of healthier lifestyles for kids living in poverty in the U.S.

Foodbuzz is offering a contest, as well. If we create a recipe that's kid-friendly to enter into the contest, we have the chance to win some great prizes. On top of that, for each recipe submitted Foodbuzz and Frigidaire will donate $50 to Save the Children.


My entry for this contest is recipe that has two main components, pan fried garlic toasts and a caprese style pasta sauce. The sauce is cooked, but uses fresh tomatoes, perline mozzarella balls, and fresh basil. Instead of spaghetti I chose to use farfalle or campanelle pasta since the shapes go better with this dish.


To prepare the garlic toasts you slice up a quality baguette into 1/4 - 1/2 inch slices while you heat up some olive oil in a skillet. You'll also want a pair of tongs, two garlic cloves cut in half, and black pepper at the ready. When the oil is heated, you place the bread into the skillet and wait a minute or two until it takes on a golden brown color. Flip over and continue cooking for another 30 seconds or until that side is ready. Remove onto a plate and let cool slightly before brushing one side with the cut garlic clove. This will release the oils of the garlic to infuse the toasts. Sprinkle with pepper and that's it. Depending on the age of your kids, they can help with the garlic toasts by flipping the toasts or rubbing the tops with garlic and sprinkling with pepper.

tomato sauce

this tomato sauce is like a marinara sauce in that it's extremely quick to make and flavorful. All you need is 3 pounds chopped Roma or plum tomatoes added to a heated skillet with olive oil. Add in about 7 cloves minced garlic, a teaspoon of salt and sugar, and a sprinkling of black pepper, stir, and let cook down for around 30 minutes. I mashed some of the tomatoes up with a spoon and stirred in a cup of pasta water. The sauce is very flavorful, makes for a simple and tasty dinner, and is elegant enough to serve to guests.

pasta with caprese sauce and pan fried garlic toasts

The fun part is the mini perline mozzarella balls. Simply drain and add to the sauce when you're ready to serve.

pasta with caprese sauce and pan fried garlic toasts

I took the pasta out of the water 2 minutes before it was finished cooking, drained (reserving 1 cup liquid to add to sauce) and mixed in with the sauce in the skillet to finish cooking. I then stirred in the basil and a drizzle of olive oil.

pasta with caprese sauce and pan fried garlic toasts

That's all it takes to prepare this recipe. It can be made in under an hour and is perfect for a moment's notice if you have all the ingredients on hand. The garlic toasts can be made alone as a snack or for another recipe. I'll probably be doing this often since the toasts were my favorite part! I really like bread.

Print this recipe

pasta with caprese sauce and pan fried garlic toasts
Recipe by Christina Provo

Serves 5-6

ingredients -

Olive oil for frying, plus 1 tablespoon
1 baguette (or 2 smaller artisan loaves, like smaller baguettes or ciabatta), sliced on the diagonal into 1/4 or 1/2 inch slices
2 cloves garlic, sliced in half
Coarse black pepper
3 pounds Roma or plum tomatoes, chopped
7 cloves garlic, minced
Coarse salt
1 teaspoon sugar
3 ounces fresh basil
1 pound dry campanelle or farfalle pasta
1/2 pound fresh perline mozzarella balls, drained of liquid

directions -
  1. Fill a large pot with water and add 1 tablespoon coarse salt. Heat until boiling.

  2. In a large skillet over medium high, heat just enough olive oil to completely cover the bottom of the skillet. When heated, lower the heat to medium and place as many slices of bread that will fit without crowding. Cook until golden brown, about 1-3 minutes. Flip and continue cooking until other side has browned, about a minute loner. Add more oil as needed. Remove onto a plate and cool slightly. Brush tops with the cut side of a clove of garlic, releasing the oils onto the toasts. Sprinkle with pepper. Continue cooking until all slices are toasted.

  3. Meanwhile, in another skillet heat a tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. When oil shimmers add the tomatoes, garlic cloves, a teaspoon of coarse salt, sugar, and a sprinkling of pepper. Cook at a continuous simmer until the tomatoes have cooked down and the juices have almost evaporated, about 30 minutes. Lightly mash half the tomatoes.

  4. When water is boiling, cook pasta 2 minutes under directions listed on package. Before draining, add 1 cup pasta water to skillet with tomatoes. Drain pasta and add to skillet, stirring to coat. Cook until al dente. Remove from heat.

  5. Thinly slice basil. Stir in basil and mozzarella balls into pasta. Portion onto plates an serve with garlic toasts.



  1. This is a beautiful looking recipe. I have always loved farfalle pasta, but I don't seem to cook with it that often. This will give me an excuse! Love the use of the small balls of fresh mozzarella here, too. Thanks for sharing!

  2. what a tasty looking meal :)

  3. Jean - Heh, I mostly find myself cooking with spaghetti, too. I'm really too lazy to deal with twisting the pasta around the tines of the fork.

    Melting Butter - Thanks you!

  4. Congratulations on making the Top 9 for this dish!



Thanks for taking the time to comment. Your thoughts are appreciated! ^,^


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