Wednesday, July 11, 2007
TOMATO-PARSLEY LINGUINE WITH CRUNCHY POTATO CROUTONS
Pasta with potatoes always sounds like starchy overload, but it sure can be delicious. In this dish, the raw tomatoes and parsley do a great job of brightening the flavor and keeping the food from feeling heavy. The browned potato chunks provide a unique savory, salty, crispy contrast. Although it takes a little time to boil the potatoes, cool them, cube them, and get them suitably oven-fried (especially if, like me, you have a non-functioning broiler—cooking them on the bottom rack at 500 degrees took a little longer, but still did the trick), this is still a really easy recipe to put together, since nothing else (except the pasta) needs to be cooked. The result is a surprisingly summery meal.
2 medium baking potatoes (about 1¼ pounds)
salt to taste
5 tablespoons olive oil
freshly ground black pepper to taste
½ cup tightly packed minced fresh Italian parsley leaves
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
3 medium ripe tomatoes (about 1¼ pounds)
1 pound linguine
1. Bring several quarts of water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Scrub potatoes under cold, running water but do not peel them. Add the potatoes and salt to the boiling water. Cook until a metal skewer slides easily into the center of the potatoes, 15–20 minutes. The potatoes should be soft but not mushy. Drain the potatoes and let cool.
2. While potatoes are boiling, combine the parsley, garlic, 3 tablespoons oil, and salt and pepper to taste in a medium bowl. Core and cut tomatoes in half; working over the sink, squeeze out as many seeds as possible. Cut the tomatoes into ½-inch cubes, toss with the parsley mixture, and set aside.
3. While potatoes are cooling, preheat the broiler and bring 4 quarts salted water to a boil for cooking the pasta.
4. Cut the potatoes into ¼-inch cubes and toss in a medium bowl with 2 tablespoons oil, plus salt and pepper to taste. Lightly grease a baking sheet with olive oil and spread the potatoes on it in a single layer. Broil, turning several times, until potatoes are golden brown and crisp, 5–7 minutes.
5. While potatoes are broiling, cook the pasta. Reserve ¼ cup of the starchy pasta water, then drain the rest. Toss linguine with the tomato and parsley mixture and most of the potato croutons, adding reserved pasta water as needed to keep things moist. Serve garnished with the remaining croutons.
Time: 1 hour