Friday, July 26

HOW TO: Make Penne Margherita

Named after Margherita of Savoy, Margherita pasta/pizza features the colors of the Italian flag. White mozzarella balls, red tomatoes/sauce, and green basil. Making a flavorful combination which is well balanced and extremely delicious. 

Often referred to as a "white" pizza or pasta.  There are slight differences between the pizza and the pasta depending on where you get it. Some places or regions use cherry tomatoes, some use sliced tomatoes, and some use tomato sauce. In places where cherry tomatoes or tomato slices are used olive oil is commonly used to replace the "sauce" aspect of the dish, giving the dish a "white" color.

Margherita is a very easy dish to make and is one if my guilt pleasures. I very often make either the pizza or the pasta for myself on nights where I am the only one home. It cooks up quick and easy and requires little to no work. It is also a great spontaneous guest dinner. For those times you weren't expecting a visitor for dinner, Margherita is perfect. It looks fancy, tastes great, but takes little time to create.

Let us begin with what your going to need, I will be showing you both versions. This will take roughly 15 minutes to cook up and will serve 4.

You will need:

1 pound penne pasta
1 1/2 cup fresh mozzarella balls, roughly 1/2" or bite size (usually found in deli or cheese section of grocery store in water)
1 cup fresh thinly sliced basil
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tbsp minced garlic

Either: 1 jar or 2 cups homemade tomato sauce

Or: 1 cup olive oil
2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

Let us begin making your Margherita:

In a large pot bring several quarts of salted water to a boil. (This means to add roughly 1 tsp of salt to water before boiling).

Cook pasta to al dente according to package directions.

Once cooked drain and set aside. Do not rinse! This next step happens fast so you do not need to work about sticking.

In a large sauté pan heat 1 tbsp olive oil, over medium high heat.

Once nice and hot, add in garlic and cook 1 minute or until it begins to golden.

Add to the pan either your olive oil or tomato sauce:

If using sauce allow sauce to heat 2-3 minutes, if using oil go straight to next step.

Add pasta into the sauté pan and toss or stir to fully coat.

Once you feel the pasta, sauce/oil is a good serving temperature add in the mozzarella balls. To do so remove them one at a time from the water and squish them with your thumb, this will split them slightly.

Now, add in the basil.

If using them add in tomatoes.

Toss or stir to fully incorporate.

Remove from heat once mozzarella begins to melt, approximately 2-3 minutes.

Move to a serving platter or plate.

Serve and enjoy! See how easy that was! I hope you have fun with your new knowledge of making Margherita, you can try both styles and see which one you prefer!