Pasta with Caprese Sauce and Pan Fried Garlic Toasts

pasta with caprese sauce and pan fried garlic toasts
Recipe by Christina Provo

Serves 5-6

ingredients -

Olive oil for frying, plus 1 tablespoon
1 baguette (or 2 smaller artisan loaves, like smaller baguettes or ciabatta), sliced on the diagonal into 1/4 or 1/2 inch slices
2 cloves garlic, sliced in half
Coarse black pepper
3 pounds Roma or plum tomatoes, chopped
7 cloves garlic, minced
Coarse salt
1 teaspoon sugar
3 ounces fresh basil
1 pound dry campanelle or farfalle pasta
1/2 pound fresh perline mozzarella balls, drained of liquid

directions -
  1. Fill a large pot with water and add 1 tablespoon coarse salt. Heat until boiling.

  2. In a large skillet over medium high, heat just enough olive oil to completely cover the bottom of the skillet. When heated, lower the heat to medium and place as many slices of bread that will fit without crowding. Cook until golden brown, about 1-3 minutes. Flip and continue cooking until other side has browned, about a minute loner. Add more oil as needed. Remove onto a plate and cool slightly. Brush tops with the cut side of a clove of garlic, releasing the oils onto the toasts. Sprinkle with pepper. Continue cooking until all slices are toasted.

  3. Meanwhile, in another skillet heat a tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. When oil shimmers add the tomatoes, garlic cloves, a teaspoon of coarse salt, sugar, and a sprinkling of pepper. Cook at a continuous simmer until the tomatoes have cooked down and the juices have almost evaporated, about 30 minutes. Lightly mash half the tomatoes.

  4. When water is boiling, cook pasta 2 minutes under directions listed on package. Before draining, add 1 cup pasta water to skillet with tomatoes. Drain pasta and add to skillet, stirring to coat. Cook until al dente. Remove from heat.

  5. Thinly slice basil. Stir in basil and mozzarella balls into pasta. Portion onto plates an serve with garlic toasts.