Saturday, April 6, 2013

Compliments of Giada!

I think pasta is fun and I love that it comes in all shapes and sizes because you can be so creative with such ease!

I was wandering through Target the other day and ran across Giada's line of pasta. I didn't realize she had branched out into food items, and was mesmerized by the different types of pasta that I had not seen before.  And one kind kept catching my attention - it is called "casarecce".   It looks a bit like rigatoni but with a groove or slit down the middle - all the better to catch whatever saucy goodness it is swimming in.  And it does that SO well!!

So clearly I bought the box and decided to make the recipe on the back of the box  - it was so simple, full of fresh ingredients and a quick meal that will satisfy even the strongest craving for Italian food!!  And it gave me a chance to  pick fresh basil off my kitchen plant.  It is happily thriving in the windowsill.  I have not been able to keep it growing  outside for more than a month, but it seems very happy enjoying the sun in the garden window!

So here is the recipe - compliments of Giada De Laurentis and Target!

Note the beautiful basil plant on the left!  YUM!


1 pound (box) Giada Casarecce
3 tbsp. olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced (I  used 4!)
3 cups cherry tomatoes, quartered (this was the most difficult part of the recipe - be sure you have a very sharp knife or you will become frustrated quickly and have a lot of smashed tomatoes!)
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves, torn
8 oz.  (roughly 1 1/4 cups) fresh mozzarella, diced

Fill a large stock pot with water and a pinch of salt.  Bring to a boil.  Add pasta and cook according to directions, stirring occasionally for 10-12 minutes, until pasta is tender but firm.  Remove from heat and drain, reserving 1 cup of cooking liquid.   Rinse in warm water to keep it separated and ready to add to the sauce.

In a large skillet or saute pan, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add garlic and saute until it smells wonderful, about 2 minutes.  Add quartered tomatoes, salt and pepper.  Cook until tomatoes begin to soften, smashing with a spoon as they begin to make a chunky sauce.  The directions say about 4 minutes; it took mine 6-8 to really soften and start to resemble a sauce!  Add the cooked pasta, basil leaves, cheese, and reserved cooking liquid, as needed, (I used between 1/2 cup and 3/4 cup) until the consistency is how you want it, and the pasta is coated in sauce and the cheese has melted.  Serves 6-8.

This tastes SO fresh and so good,  It would make a great summer meal too.  And it can be a main dish or a side dish.  I added about 1/4 cup of cooked crumbled bacon to give it a little more taste and texture.  Next time I will add pancetta.  Yes, I will definitely make this again. Pin It Now!


  1. I have learned one thing from your blog my friend.
    Read only after have eaten.
    Looks so good and I am NOT a pasta person.

  2. Oh Nance - you are so funny!!

    Believe it or not, I am not a pasta person either, but have been cooking it like crazy lately??? Not sure what that is about - maybe there is some hidden Italian heritage? Strange...!!

  3. This looks and sounds divine!!