Recipe: Shells with Charred Peppers, Cherry Tomatoes, Ricotta & Basil Oil

August 24, 2016

Last week was the first week of school here in Southern California. It was a bit chaotic in our house and a touch of anxiety at our house as my oldest started TK at the local elementary school. The transition hasn't been as easy as I had hoped for him, though he's settling in, but one change that we both love is that his new schedule allows us time to cook dinner together. We made Bon Appetit's grated tomato sauce, which are perfect for the juicy-but-bruised farmers' market tomatoes we love to rescue from their compost destiny. But with so many fantastic tomatoes at the market, it's hard to buy just one kind. Today's recipe is farmers' market gold: blistered cherry tomatoes, charred peppers and roasted garlic; it captures the season perfectly. (If you're like my ambitious, pre-kid self, here's a recipe to make your own ricotta!)

Shells with Charred Peppers, Cherry Tomatoes, Ricotta & Basil Oil

2 whole red bell papers
1 cup cherry tomatoes, blistered
1/2 cup ricotta 
6 roasted garlic cloves, minced
1 cup pitted, brined green olives (we like Castelveltrano)
1/3 cup basil leaves, torn 
1 pound Semolina Artisanal Pasta Conchiglie

Basil Oil:
1 c basil 
1/4 cup olive oil 
2 garlic cloves 

Heat your grill. Roast 6 garlic cloves drizzled with olive oil, wrapped in foil for 20-25 minutes. Once cooled, rough chop. 

While the garlic is roasting, grill bell peppers until all sides are charred. About 2 mins each side. Set aside and let cool. 

Skewer cherry tomatoes and grill, allowing slightly char each side for about 1 min. Remove from skewers, set aside and let cool. 

Rough chop olives, cooled bell pepper and tomatoes. Place in a bowl with the roasted garlic and season to taste.

Cook pasta in a pot of heavily salted, boiling water.

While the pasta is cooking, blend basil, raw garlic cloves and 1/4 cup olive oil until smooth and emulsified. 

Drain pasta reserving a tablespoon of pasta water. Drizzle basil oil over and pasta water over pasta, adding the olive-tomato-pepper mixture. Toss until evenly coated. Add in torn basil leaves and ricotta. Adjust salt and pepper if needed.

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