Looking at the bounty on the kitchen counter and wondering what to make for dinner, I suddenly remembered that kale salad I made a while ago, especially those crunchy breadcrumbs tossed with garlic and kale. I ate quite a few spoonfuls of those breadcrumbs each time I made the salad. So why not go whole hog?
I increased the recipe for breadcrumbs, tossed in more garlic, and sauteed until they were dark golden brown, then layered them with rigatoni and blistered cherry tomatoes, cooked until they were just bursting, then topped with more crunchy crumbs and a shower of dried basil, simply because it's more assertive and I was out of homemade pesto. A quick squeeze of lemon juice and it was perfect. I did experiment with a few slivers of parmesan, but it didn't seem to belong in this dish, perhaps because of the breadcrumbs?
Rigatoni with crunchy breadcrumbs, garlic, and cherry tomatoes
For the crumbs:
3 slices whole grain bread, toasted, cooled, and crumbed in a food processor
2 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
1/3 cup olive oil (I use California)
1 pinch kosher salt
Heat the oil and garlic cloves in a skillet, then add the breadcrumbs. Stir constantly with a spoon until the crumbs are golden brown. Sprinkle with salt, then scrape into a bowl to cool.
For the tomatoes:
1 pint cherry tomatoes (about 2 cups)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Melt butter in skillet, then add the tomatoes and cook on medium heat until very soft. Set aside to cool.
For the pasta:
1/2 box good rigatoni pasta (8 ounces), cooked in salted water
Optional: 1 or 2 tablespoons pesto (for the bottom of the bowls)
2 tablespoons sliced scallions (for garnish)
2 wedges fresh lemon
Set out two or medium pasta bowls.
Drizzle bottoms of bowls with a little pesto or basil oil (optional) .
Place half the pasta in the two bowls, and sprinkle with half the breadcrumbs.
Divide the tomatoes between the bowls and add the scallions.
Top with the rest of the breadcrumbs.
Sprinkle with dried basil and freshly cracked pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice and serve at room temperature. Fabulous!
I walk by my neighbor's house at the end of the lane, inspecting the tiny pears and rosy crabapples, every morning , and admiring the huge showy flowers, white, and bright pink , next to the sidewalk. Do you know what they are? I keep forgetting to ask her.
Happy beautiful September!