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Penne with Heirloom Tomatoes, Basil, Green Beans and Feta Cheese
Adpated from Recipes for Health from the NY Times; 2009; serves 4; sauce can be made ahead
6-8 ounces green beans, trimmed, strings removed
2 cups chopped ripe tomatoes
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large garlic clove, minced
Salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste (a sea salt is best here, since you won't be cooking the tomatoes)
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
2 Tablespoons slivered basil
2 ounces crumbled feta cheese
3/4 pound pasta, penne or fusilli are good choices
Combine the olive oil, tomatoes, garlic, salt and pepper and basil in a bowl and gently mix. Allow to sit at room temperature for 15-30 minutes.
Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Fill a bowl with ice water. Add the green beans to the boiling water, and boil two to four minutes, depending on how crunchy you like them. Remove with a strainer or skimmer, and transfer the beans to the ice water. (This sudden temperature change will allow the beans to stay crisp and retain their bright color.) Allow to cool for a few minutes, then drain and set aside.
Bring the water back to a boil, and add the pasta. Cook until al dente, about eight minutes. When the pasta is ready, drop the green beans back into the water to heat, then drain the pasta and beans and toss at once with the tomato mixture and the feta. Serve hot or at room temperature.