Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Light Stunt: Penne alla Caprese en Crudo

Penne alla Caprese en Crudo

Hello from metro Seattle!

The #WeekdaySupper dish I published a couple of weeks ago was technically done so as a Washington resident, however it was prepared while I was still in California. This dish has the distinction of being the first dish prepared for publication in my new residence.

The dish itself? Pretty simple to prepare which is the reason why it qualifies as a Light Stunt. You can complete your prep work as you wait for your water to boil. The sauce, in this case is raw (i.e. en crudo), taking advantage of fresh tomatoes with their season just ending.

There is also a bit of Murphy's Law at work here because I was just finding a comfort zone with my pictures while I was a California resident, but that has been upset since I moved to Washington, so I am using this dish to experiment with my food pictures.

The Challenge

Find the optimum environment to photograph my dishes.

The Source

Taken from page 54 of Lidia's Favorite Recipes by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich and Tanya Bastianich Manuali.


1 pound cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for garnish
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt, plus more for seasoning the pasta water
Pinch red pepper flakes
4 cloves garlic, crushed with the side of a chef's knife
1 pound penne pasta
10 basil leaves, cut into chiffonade
1/2 pound bocconcini, halved


1. Season and marinate the tomatoes. Combine the tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, and red pepper in a large bowl. Set aside at room temperature for 30 minutes, tossing once or twice while you cook the pasta.

2. Cook the pasta and finish the dish. While the tomatoes marinate, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the penne and cook until al dente (I recommend one-third less than the box instructions. For example, 6 to 7 minutes if the box instructs 9 minutes). Once the 30 minutes have expired, remove the garlic. Drain the pasta once cooked and add to the tomatoes along with the bocconcini. Toss, then garnish with basil and serve in warmed bowls.


I'll confess that this was the second time I prepared this dish within a week. I over-seasoned the pasta water the first time so I prepared it again. I also substituted mozzarella sticks for the bocconcini simply because I couldn't source it. From a photography standpoint, I'm still working on a best time and place to take pictures of my food.


  1. Wonderful, simple, rustic Italian-- my favorite kind of food! Your blog has a new header/ logo and appearance? It is beautiful! Classy!
    Best wishes to you in Seattle!

  2. I echo all of Sue's sentiments! A simple, comforting, flavourful meal like this is one of my favourites to prepare during the week. And you can never go wrong with pasta! This looks delicious, DB! I hope you figure out the lighting at your new place. My old apartment had a glorious wall of floor to ceiling windows but my new house is pretty darn dark most of the time. It drives me nuts!

  3. wow! i love your recipe! great job!


Feedback is always welcomed. If you're going to be critical, be constructive. In other words, be nice.