Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Linguine with Tomatoes, Basil...and Balance

In yoga practice when you lean to the left and then to the right, you always come back to center and pause for physical and mental balance. Maintaining the same balance in life isn't always that easy. Sometimes we just need to stop and let life find it's own center....to temper adventure with contemplation....friends and family with solitude....work with stillness....black with white. I did just that with my break, and now I'm back! The power of nature helps. We are reminded that the center between black and white is not gray, but a shade of blush pink from a flower or the blue green of an impending wave of the ocean. I'm lucky that the beach is just 2 minutes away and Mother Nature's bounty is in my own backyard. I can pick my tomatoes and basil in the stillness of the morning and mix with ingredients that don't need any further attention than to mingle with one another. And what partners better with tomatoes and basil than pasta? Add extra virgin olive oil, garlic and cheese to this super easy sauce and it just doesn't get any better. The heat of the freshly cooked pasta melts the cheese and melds the flavors with just a simple stirring. This pasta dish is beach food, as my friend Nancy calls it. You can be at the beach all day and come home welcomed by the savory aromas, boil the pasta, toss with the awaiting mixture and now you have dinner....a perfectly balanced dinner in all ways.

Linguine with Tomatoes and Basil
(Adapted from The Silver Palate Cookbook)

4 large ripe tomatoes, cut into 1/2 inch cubes*
1 pound Brie cheese, rind removed, and torn into irregular pieces
1 cup cleaned fresh basil leaves, cut into strips
3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely minced
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
dash of cayenne
1 1/2 pounds linguine
freshly grated Parmesan cheese
*I used the equivalent of a combination of red plum, Park's Whopper, Black Prince and yellow cherry tomatoes.

Combine the tomatoes, Brie, basil, garlic, 1 cup olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and the peppers in a large serving bowl. Prepare at least 2 hours before serving and set aside, covered, at room temperature.Bring 6 quarts water to a boil in a large pot. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and remaining salt. Add the linguine and boil until tender but firm, 8 to 10 minutes.

Drain pasta and immediately toss with the tomato mixture. Serve at once, adjusting salt and pepper to taste. Top with the freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Serves 4-6.

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