This is a quick, easy pasta dish I created several years ago (probably 10 or more). It’s an old favorite around the Rootsliving kitchen.
It’s great for an easy, weeknight meal and it’s quicker than ordering take-out. You can make this dish as fast as it takes you to boil a pot of water.
The first thing you do is put a good size pot of water on the stove. I use this pasta pot with built-in strainer. It makes boiling and serving pasta hassle-free and safer. And you can even steam vegetables at the same time. It’s one of my favorite kitchen utensils.
While the water heats up, cut the grape tomatoes in half, put them in a bowl and add the other ingredients.
Once the water comes to a boil, put the fuscilli in and cook it until it’s al dente, which means “to the tooth” in Italian. That means cook it until it’s still a little firm when you bite into it. With dried fuscilli, this could take about 10 minutes. With fresh fuscilli, it will only take a minute or two.
You then put the fuscilli in a bowl and while it’s still piping hot, add the mozzarella cheese and stir. The cheese should melt into the pasta as you stir. Once it does that, add the tomato mixture and you’re done. See detailed recipe below.
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This takes minutes to make but tastes like it took a lot more care.
By: Mark Micheli
- Fuscilli (1 pound box)
- Grape or cherry tomatoes (1 pint, chopped)
- Fresh oregano (About 1 tablespoon
- or 1/2 teaspoon if using dried oregano)
- Dried basil (About 1/2 teaspoon)
- Wine (A healthy splash, about 1/4 cup. I usually use red wine, but white would be fine too.)
- Olive oil (About 1/4 cup)
- Butter (About 1/4 – 1/2 stick)
- Marinated mozzarella cheese (8 oz. It’s available at most supermarkets.
- Step 1 Cook fuscilli in a large pot of salted water. Drain, put in a bowl and add butter, oil (about 1/8 cup), salt and pepper (to taste).
- Step 2 Chop up tomatoes, put in a small bowl. Add olive oil (about 1/8 cup), salt, pepper, fresh oregano, and a healthy splash of wine. Mix it up.
- Step 3 Add mozzarella pieces to pasta and stir, letting it melt evenly.
- Step 4 Pour tomato mixture over fuscilli. Add dried basil and stir. Add salt and pepper if needed. Serve with a salad.
Here’s something to kick off a weeknight in the late summer: two quick and easy recipes, perfect to make and eat after a long day of work or to enjoy while you’re working through dinner.
An Octupus’s Garden Gazpacho with Leftover Chicken Hummus Sandwiches
(Tip: Gazpacho should sit in the refrigerator for a couple of hours before eating, so you could make this the night before. This soup is also very low in calories. For you Weight Watchers, it’s about 4 points per serving with the shrimp — or only 3 points without.)
An Octopus’s Garden Gazpacho
This recipe came from Parade Magaziine via Epicurious. The original name was Farmstand Gazpacho, but my brother Peter (who first made this for me) had the brilliant idea of adding shrimp to it, so I changed the name.
Eating this is like eating a bowl of nature and combined with the shrimp, you may feel like a playful sea otter surfacing from the deep with a fresh morsel in his mouth.
Octopus's Garden Gazpacho
By: Mark Micheli
- 2 cups, about 1 large, peeled and diced (1/4 inch) cucumber
- 2 cups, about 2, diced (1/4 inch) red bell pepper
- 2 cups, about 2, diced (1/4 inch) ripe tomato
- 1/2 cup, about one small, diced (1/4 inch) red onion
- 2 cups of tomato juice
- 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 dashes Tabasco sauce (You can add more if you like it more spicy. I added four dashes and found that suited my taste)
- Salt and pepper
- Shrimp (about 16 whole, medium-sized cooked shrimp. More or less to suit your taste.)
- Step 1 Place all of the diced vegetables in a large bowl. Add tomato juice, vinegar, oil and Tabasco. Season with salt and pepper.
- Step 2 Transfer half of the mixture to a blender or food processor and pulse the machine on and off to coarsely puree the ingredients. Return the pureed mixture to the bowl and stir to combine.
- Step 3 Add eight of the shrimp to the soup. Save and refrigerate the other shrimp to use as garnish around the cup or bowl. Refrigerate gazpacho for 4-6 hours. I put it in the refrigerator for only three hours before eating it and it was fine.
- Step 4 Put soup in bowls or cups and hook a few shrimp around the rim. Serve with your favorite sandwich.
I made the following sandwiches with some leftover fried chicken and what I had hanging around my icebox. (The tomato and cucumber in the sandwich echoed some of the main ingredients of the soup making this a perfect combination.)
Leftover Chicken Hummus Sandwiches
- Good, real, Italian bread (I used a loaf of pane francese)
- Leftover chicken, sliced thin
- Tomato slices
- Cucumber slices
What I did:
Cover one bread slice with chicken. Put slices of tomato on top and add salt and pepper. Put slices of cucumber on top. Spread hummus on the other slice of bread and make a sandwich.