Artichoke Leaf Pasta with Heirloom Tomatoes & Basil

Using fresh tomatoes, top-notch olive oil and an authentic Grana-style cheese are key to this dish’s success.

Ingredients:
1 pound Casina Rossa Folgie di Carciofo pasta
1 pound (about 2-3) heirloom and/or Roma tomatoes, diced
¼ cup julienned basil leaves
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
2 tablespoons finely-chopped shallot
1 garlic clove, minced
Pinch red pepper flakes
Shaved Grana-style cheese, for garnish
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper

Method:
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta to the water, stir gently and cook until al dente, 7 to 8 minutes. Drain.

2. In a large bowl, toss together the tomatoes, 2 tablespoons olive oil, vinegar, red pepper flakes, shallot and garlic. Season to taste with salt and pepper to taste.

3. Place the drained pasta on top of the tomato mixture and toss to combine. Stir in the basil and season with additional salt if needed. Transfer to a large serving bowl, drizzle with additional olive oil and sprinkle with Grana-style cheese. Serve immediately.

Roasted Ratatouille Toasts

A delightful spin on the classic stew, this time slathered on toasted bread as a starter!

Method:
1 heirloom tomato, roughly chopped
1 pint heirloom cherry tomatoes, some sliced in half, others left whole
½ eggplant, cut into ½-inch pieces
1 zucchini or summer squash, cut into ½-inch pieces
1 sweet pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 sweet onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
Pinch red pepper flakes
⅓ cup olive oil
2½ tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 loaf rustic bread or focaccia, sliced into ½-inch-thick slices
½ cup crumbled sheep’s milk feta or fresh ricotta
½ cup basil, thinly sliced
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper

Method:
1. Preheat the oven to 400°. In a large roasting pan, toss the tomatoes, eggplant, squash or zucchini, pepper, onion and garlic with red pepper flakes, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and a healthy pinch of salt and pepper. Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender and lightly browned and the tomatoes have released their juices. Stir the vegetables halfway through cooking, and then toss again once they have been removed from the oven.

2. Remove the vegetables from the oven and increase the temperatures to a broil. Lightly brush each slice of bread or focaccia with olive oil. Place them on the upper rack of the oven and toast until lightly browned, 1-2 minutes.

3. Top each toast with a generous portion of the ratatouille mixture, and then add a little crumbled feta or dollop of ricotta on each. Garnish with the basil and season with additional salt and pepper to taste.

Sweet Corn & Roasted Potato Salad with Fresh Basil

This room temperature salad will be a hit at your next barbecue. (Plus, it’s a snap to prep ahead!)

Ingredients:
3 pounds fingerling potatoes, scrubbed and halved or quartered if large
¼ cup minced parsley
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups sweet corn kernels, cut from the cob
½ cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped
1 bunch fresh basil leaves, chopped
¼ cup feta cheese, crumbled
¼ cup toasted pine nuts

For dressing:
½ cup olive oil
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 garlic cloves, minced
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper

Method:
1. Preheat the oven to 400°. Place the potatoes in a heavy roasting pan, drizzle with olive oil, stir to coat. Salt and pepper generously and add chopped parsley. Roast the potatoes until tender and starting to brown, turning once or twice, about 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven and cool to room temperature.

2. When potatoes have cooled, combine together with the corn kernels and sun-dried tomatoes.

3. For the dressing, combine the ½ cup of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Toss the potato mixture enough dressing to coat lightly. Stir in the basil and feta cheese gently, season with salt and pepper and garnish with toasted pine nuts. Serve at room temperature.

Cucumber Bird’s Eye Smash

A spicy, herbaceous cocktail crafted with this week’s fiery hot sauce.

Ingredients:
½ cucumber, washed and cut into bite-sized chunks
4-6 basil leaves
Dash of simple syrup
1.5 ounces dry gin
Juice of 1 lime
Dash of Cucumber Bird’s Eye hot sauce

Method:
1. Muddle the basil leaves and cucumber chunks in a cocktail shaker along with about a half tablespoon of simple syrup. Add the gin, lime juice, and a few drops of the hot sauce and shake with ice. Strain into a glass over fresh ice and enjoy!

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