Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Oscar night pasta: Angel hair with blue cheese, grapes and croutons!

This is a pasta for the brave blue cheese lover. It all began with a Mark Bittman moment (his NYT blog Bitten is a favorite of mine) over the weekend, and in getting caught up on reading his recipes and blog posts, I got further caught up in the comments... one thing led to another, I got hungry Sunday night just as the Oscars started and my own experiment took off.

Let me say, too, that the photos don't do it justice. I must have been distracted by Hugh Jackman or something...

I had never considered croutons on pasta before. Just didn't really think about it. I'm all about bread salads and such, even croutons on soup of course, but when the writer submitting the recipe mentioned croutons for the crunch factor, I had to give it a whirl. I didn't have the arugula that the original recipe called for, so in looking down in the comments I saw grapes and thought, "Oh yes!" I have always liked grapes and blue cheese together. There's a wonderful local restaurant that has a grape salad on their menu right now that is to die for, so I thought if this is even close to that...

So we begin...
To make your own croutons, cut a loaf of crusty bread into cubes. Mine got a little large, for which I was thankful later--less soggy, a little more crunchy. Toss the bread cubes with oil. I did a mixture of 2 T. olive oil, 2 T. basil grapeseed oil and 2 T. rosemary grapeseed oil. Spread on two baking sheets and bake at 375 for 10-15 minutes, until browned. I switched racks halfway through to get the browning even.

Cook the pasta. I went with angel hair, just loving the thinness. Before draining, reserve a half cup of the cooking liquid. Drain and set aside 2 cups of cooked pasta.

While the pasta is cooking, rinse and cut about 1.5 cups of red grapes (black grapes would also be good and I love their texture). Heat a frying pan over medium high heat and saute the grapes in a little rosemary grapeseed oil. When they are heated through and somewhat seared (happy carmelization with the sugars!), toss them in with the pasta and a half cup of blue cheese crumbles. Drizzle the pasta cooking liquid over and add a half cup of chopped basil. Toss thoroughly, add a handful of croutons and you're good to go. (Too much liquid and you'll lose the blue cheese texture, so go with a light hand on that. You won't need the full half cup.)

I scarfed happily while watching celebrities do their love-fest thing, and life was good!

1 comment:

  1. Sher- This sounds SOOOO delicious! I'll be trying it very soon! Can't wait to share some lunch with you, soon. Megan


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