I‘ve fallen in love with a married man! Well, not really with HIM, but rather with the authentic Italian recipes that he prepares, as well as his TV show, Dolce Vita, filmed in Tuscany! I’m talking about my obsession with the cooking methods of David Rocco, a Canadian-Italian who now lives with his young family in Italy. David takes us on his escapades throughout Italy alongside some of his crazy Italian friends, and always speaks to them in Italian . . . he speaks in English during the cooking portions of the show. The only other celebrity Italian chef that even comes close to this level of authenticity of actually filming in Italy in all of it’s food culture is Lidia Bastianich; but even Lidia films the cooking portion of the show in her kitchen here in the States.
Finally, after waiting for six months, his first cookbook that parallels the television show is once again available on the market. I just received it last week and couldn’t put it down! I have also pre-ordered his second cookbook which will be out this fall sometime.
So what to prepare for dinner today? How about a new recipe that I can use up some of the baskets of cherry tomatoes that we harvest every morning? I have a great recipe for roasted cherry tomatoes that has been prepared with positive reviews, Sweet Cherry Tomato Basil Pesto Sauce on Farfalle Pasta, but I’m always wanting to try something new. Flipping through the Rocco cookbook, I found this recipe for orecchiette (little ears) pasta in a smooth, creamy, velvety cheese sauce. I tweaked it quite a bit because Bill and I found it to be just a little too bland for our taste buds. I doubled the tomatoes, added lots of garlic, and replaced the cilantro with basil from my garden. It is simply delicious! I highly recommend this recipe for all of you pasta and tomato lovers!
Creamy Orecchiette with Cherry Tomatoes, Basil, and Garlic
(very adapted from David Rocco’s Dolce Vita)
1 lb. box Orecchiette pasta
4 Tbsp. olive oil
40 cherry tomatoes, washed, cut into halves (David Rocco used only 20 tomatoes)
2 – 3 large garlic cloves, minced (my addition)
30 leaves fresh basil, chopped (my addition, David Rocco used cilantro)
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup of the saved pasta cooking water
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes (my addition)
salt and pepper to taste
Boil a large pot of water.
Add a few tablespoons of salt.
Cook the orecchiette for about 9 minutes, just before the ‘al dente’ stage is achieved.
Drain pasta and reserve 1 cup of the cooking water.
While the pasta cooks, heat the olive oil in a large frying pan.
Add the cherry tomatoes to the oil and cook for a few minutes (3 – 5 minutes).
Add the minced garlic.
Add the chopped basil.
Add the pasta and ricotta.
Add the red pepper flakes
Use some of the saved pasta cooking water to make the mixture a little more creamy.
Blend everything well until the sauce is creamy and smooth.