If you’ve read my post about homemade chips and guacamole, you know how much I love garlic! My husband doesn’t have the same love (or tolerance) for garlic as I do, but he does enjoy a slightly garlicy flavor. Prior to her elimination on episode 9 of Food Network Star (season 9), Nikki Dinki made her family’s Fire Island Burst Tomato Pasta with Lemon Herbed Goat Cheese Balls. This dish looked so appetizing on TV I knew I had to try it myself. In her recipe, Nikki slices the garlic, but I minced the garlic to remove any chunks my husband would need to pick around. I also omitted the rosemary in the pasta and the basil, mint, rosemary and lemon zest in the goat cheese balls as my husband isn’t big into spices either. The aroma this dish gives off as it cooks is so intoxicating and the goat cheese balls add a little tanginess to each bite. Enjoy!
Ingredients (Burst Tomato Pasta):
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
6 Cloves Garlic, Minced
2 Pints Grape or Cherry Tomatoes
1 tsp Kosher Salt
1 tsp Dried Thyme
1/4 Cup Grated Parmesan Reggiano Cheese
Fresh Basil, to taste (Optional)
1 box Capellini Pasta
Ingredients (Goat Cheese Balls):
4 oz Soft Goat Cheese
1/2 tsp Sea Salt
1/2 tsp Cracked Pepper
Instructions (Burst Tomato Pasta):
Cook pasta according to package directions; strain and set aside.
NOTE: If you like your pasta to have more sauce, reserve 1/2 to 1 cup pasta water to add to sauce as desired.
Heat oil and garlic over medium heat until tender and fragrant.
Add whole tomatoes and salt. Cook over medium heat until tomatoes start to break down. Using the back of your spoon, squish the tomatoes so they burst open.
Add thyme and parmesan reggiano cheese to the burst tomatoes, stirring until well combined. Continue to cook over medium-low heat about 3 minutes.
Add cooked pasta to sauce, tossing to coat evenly. At this time, add reserved pasta water, if needed, until pasta mixture reaches desired sauciness.
NOTE: I did not use any reserved pasta water when making this recipe for my blog, however when the tomatoes are not as juicy I only use 1/4 to 1/2 cups reserved pasta water because I don’t like my pasta to be overly wet.
Instructions (Goat Cheese Balls):
Mix goat cheese, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Once throughly combined, roll a small amount in your hands to form small balls, repeating until you have made 12 cheese balls.
Top pasta with fresh basil (to taste) and 3 goat cheese balls per serving.
Yields 4 Servings
Weight Watchers: 1 serving= 15 points plus
NOTE: The type of pasta used may changes the points plus value; Without the Goat Cheese Balls, 1 serving = 13 points plus