This new recipe from the New York Times (click here) is easy to make on a hot summer day. The heat from the pasta melts the cheese, so there is no need to fire up the oven – it’s all done on the stove top. If you want to make your own cheese, we recommend Jim Wallace’s recipe (click here), which has directions for making fresh, soft-style Mozzarella.
Pasta With Mint, Basil and Fresh Mozzarella
Meant to be served hot or warm, so the cheese is soft and melted.
¼ cup pine nuts
2/3 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for garnish
4 cups fresh basil leaves, plus more torn leaves for garnish
1 cup fresh mint leaves, plus more torn leaves for garnish
2 garlic cloves, finely grated or minced
½ teaspoon fine sea salt, or to taste
Pinch red chili flakes
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
8 ounces fresh bocconcini or mozzarella, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
12 ounces pasta, such as campanelle or fusilli
Coarsely ground black pepper
In a small skillet over medium heat, toast pine nuts, shaking the pan frequently, until golden, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate to cool.
In a blender or mini food processor, combine Parmesan, basil, mint, garlic, salt and chili flakes.
Pulse to combine, then add oil and process until smooth, adding more oil if needed to make a smooth paste.
Taste and adjust salt and chili flakes if needed.
Transfer 2 tablespoons sauce to a small bowl and stir in mozzarella. Cover and let marinate at room temperature while boiling the pasta.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package directions until al dente. Use a mug to scoop out approximately 1/2 cup pasta water, then drain pasta. Transfer pasta to a serving bowl.
To serve, toss pasta with sauce and marinated mozzarella, adding a little of the reserved pasta water if the mixture looks dry. (It’s O.K. if the mozzarella melts slightly while you’re tossing.) Top with pine nuts, torn basil and mint, black pepper, Parmesan and another drizzle of oil to serve.