Spicy Orecchiette with Cherry Tomatoes
I loved the original recipe! I just like things a little spicy, so I added in jalapeno and also red onion because I love the sweetness that it adds. I would still like to enjoy this at my Italian summer villa, even though it's perhaps a little less traditional now :)
- 1/2 pound orecchiette
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 jalapeno, deseeded and thinly sliced
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 3 cloves garlic, smashed with a knife
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes
- 1 round of burrata, divided
- 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, loosely torn
Boil heavily salted water and cook pasta according to the package.
In a saute pan, heat olive oil over high heat until shimmering. Turn flame to medium-low and add the red onion, jalapeno and a pinch of salt, cook until they start to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds more. Stir and cook for a few minutes, until fragrant. Mix in cherry tomatoes, season with salt and pepper, and cook, covered, for 10 minutes.
Uncover and check to see that some of the tomatoes have begun to burst and their juices are starting to create a sauce. Add the sugar and Aleppo pepper to taste (if using) and stir to combine. Cook, covered again, for another 10 minutes. At this point, the tomatoes should have all burst and there should be a nice amount of sauce in the pan. Turn the heat to the lowest mark and allow to simmer uncovered until ready to serve with pasta.
Prepare the burrata by placing it in a bowl and cutting into the round of cheese. Allow the creamy center to spill out and roughly tear the outer mozzarella with your hands. Set aside.
When the pasta is al dente, drain and add to saute pan with cherry mixture. Scoop a few large spoonfuls of starchy pasta water and add to the sauce, stirring well to combine. Spoon pasta and sauce-y tomatoes into serving dish and top with half of the burrata. Mix to allow cheese to melt. Top with remaining burrata just before serving.
(Torn leaves of fresh basil make a lovely topping, too.)
You could replace the burrata with ricotta in a pinch or, of course, sub in some fresh mozzarella instead of the creamier burrata. You could add some spice in the form of red pepper flakes or Aleppo pepper. You can do lots of things from this base. Go wild!
Agree with all of the above! Pro tip: as basil is delicate, tear the leaves immediately before placing them on so that they don't brown or become bitter.