Campanelle al Pomodoro e Basilico

20th September, 2010: Posted by G.L. Pease in easy, pasta, vegetarian

Campanelle, little bells, are just so much fun, but even better than that, their funnel-like shape hangs onto a lot of this sugo fresco, so every bite will be a little explosion of fresh flavors. Campanelle are also sometimes known as Gigli, (lilies). If you can’t find campanelle, use fusilli or any pasta corta, like ziti, penne, or mostaccioli.

This is one of those things that isn’t really a recipe, but a place from which to jump off, to start riffing. It’s fabulous, fresh, delicious and quick, and perfect for improvisation. If you grow your own tomatoes and basil, even better, as you can build it right from the garden, and really experience the freshness. Add other greens for variety – fresh and peppery arugula is especially nice.

Ingredients – Serves 6

  • 1 pound Campanelle
  • 5-6 fresh, ripe tomatoes
  • 10-12 fresh basil leaves chiffonnade
  • 2 cloves garlic, fine julienne
  • 4-6 Tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1-2 Tbsp Balsamico
  • 1-2 ripe chiles, seeded and minced (optional)
  • Parmigiano Reggiano (Stravecchio if you can find it) to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Method – About 20 Minutes

    1. Put a large pot of water on to boil for the past, and prepare the rest of the ingredients.
    2. Chop the tomatoes, about 1/2″ dice. Fine julienne the garlic, and cut the basil into a fine chiffonnade. Mince the chiles if you’re using them. Put everything into a large pasta bowl, drizzle with a generous glug or three of good olive oil. Add balsamico, salt and pepper to taste.
    3. Cook the pasta al dente, and transfer with tongs to the bowl, and toss. The heat of the pasta will release the wonderful aromas of the sugo fresco.
    4. Serve immediately with a little crumbled or coarsely grated Parmigiano Reggiano Stravecchio, extra olive oil at table, and some crusty bread. Buon appetito!

Parmigiano Reggiano Stravecchio is extra-long aged, usually 36 months. It’s firmer, drier, and more crumbly than the conventional Parmigiano. Wonderful, and well worth seeking out. Use freshly coarse grated Parmigiano or Grana, even a nice Asiago if you can’t find the Stravecchio.

3 Responses

  1. Matty Says:

    This is a quick dish that is a nice with a few pieces of grilled chicken on top.

    Greg my jarred habenero peppers are very good and hot! The 1 jar has little pieces of habeneros throughout. I must not have covered them with the oil to the top, and the top pepper broke down, Im guessing.
    The olive oil is more like a jelly now is that normal. They are good though.

  2. G.L. Pease Says:

    The oil will congeal a little when it gets cold. (I assume you’re storing these in the fridge?) At room temperature, it’ll flow freely again. It’s something to do with the combination of the oil, salt and vinegar. I need to research that, I think…

    But, don’t they have the most amazing flavour? Pickling them this way really brings the goodness out!

    Another thing you might try with the habaneros is to slice them into thin rings, fry them in a little oil until crispy, drain, and salt. Then, cook some eggs in the oil, and serve with the chiles. I call them “Haystack Habaneros,” and they’ll really wake you up in the mornings.

  3. Matty Says:

    Thank you. Yes I could not believe they were the same peppers. Its like toasting peppercorns. It gives them a new dimension.

    As for the eggs I put them in a burrito with some potato’s and whatever cheese is handy. My wife will even eat hab’s this way, soooo good!