Monday dinner: Emmer pasta with tomato vinaigrette by Alice Waters via Serious Eats

Last week at Serious Eats, Blake Royer tackled an Alice Waters’ recipe that had been recently featured in The Wall Street Journal. Royer commented in his piece that he was unable to find emmer pasta as prescribed by Waters, the woman whose Chez Panisse gave birth to the organic food movement. Royer describes the topping as a bruschetta, writing:

That’s also the idea with this Alice Waters recipe, but she adds a little more panache to the proceedings with a vinegar-garlic paste in a mortar and pestle that adds a garlicky, tart base to deepen the flavor and accentuate the tomatoes.

I’ve made bruschetta pasta before with balsamic vinegar base. Using red wine vinegar never occurred to me as an option.

Royer wrote that he had difficulty finding emmer pasta, which seems slightly difficult to believe when you live in Chicago. He ran with whole wheat. Because I have access to Flour City Pasta, emmer pasta is possible.

WHAT WORKED: The red wine vinegar offered a nice alternative to my typical go to: balsamic.

WHAT DIDN’T WORK: The heirloom tomatoes. I could have used romas or a tomato on the vine and had similar results. I didn’t really taste the difference here.

WHAT DID THE WIFE SAY: She seemed to enjoy it. She was having difficulty with The Kid tonight.

WILL IT MAKE ANOTHER APPEARANCE: Very likely, but it’s all dependent on the quality of the fruit.

Alice Waters’ emmer pasta with tomato vinaigrette
By Alice Waters via Blake Royer

  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • Salt
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 pounds ripe heirloom tomatoes , cored and cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1/2 cup torn basil leaves
  • 1/2 pound farro pasta or whole-wheat long pasta
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra as needed

In a mortar and pestle, combine the garlic with a good pinch of salt and pound into a smooth paste. Stir in the vinegar.

Combine the garlic-vinegar mixture with the chopped tomatoes and half the basil. Cover and marinate for 15-20 minutes.

In the meantime, bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, reserving 1 cup of pasta cooking water before draining well.

Season the tomatoes with salt to taste, then add the oil. Add the hot cooked pasta and toss well to combine. Adjust the consistency of the sauce with the pasta cooking water and more oil (if desired); season to taste with salt and perhaps a splash of vinegar.

Add the remaining basil leaves and serve warm.

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