I will call this my “sunshine lunch”, and I will tell you more in a little bit.
Last weekend we were in Houston to meet up with my old college friend. Along with the sweet times and promises to meet again, we also brought back an arm-load of fresh basil (along with other yard produce) from her home. The fragrance of the basil made the journey smell like a rustic kitchen and got me impatient to use them right away. The next day’s lunch could be nothing but pasta with loads of basil.
I had these sweetest little cherry tomatoes, probably the few last remnants of the summer time. Some mushrooms, and of course the classic garlic and the olive oil with the tomatoes and egg, made the quickest and one of the best lunches ever. I call this the sunshine lunch not just for the way it looks, not because it has the sunny side up egg out there, not even for the ease of making, but because it made my heart sing.
The colors which so unintentionally went in there gives a touch of late summer and early fall – the warm yellows, just like it is outside now – the slow glow and the leaves at the verge of changing their colors.
But if you think of the flavors, it has more of the refreshing air of the spring and summer. The fresh basil, and so much of it, made all the difference. It is my sunshine lunch, for more reasons than just the warm colors and the lovely flavors that went in there. It was a dish created with the ingredients so treasured, a gift of love, gift of friendship and a few hours talking of old times and new, the day and a half that brought warm laughter to my heart.
I haven’t given fixed amounts in the recipe today. I was not planning to post this in the blog, but it was too good to give it a pass So here I am sharing this simple but immensely flavorful and scrumptious recipe with you.
Angel Hair Pasta with Mushroom, Basil and Fried Egg
- Angel Hair Pasta or any other dry pasta you want to use
- a good glug of extra virgin Olive oil
- few garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
- red pepper flakes, as much as you need
- button or cremini mushrooms – washed, patted with a paper towel and thickly sliced
- grape tomatoes, halved
- salt and pepper to taste
- a lot of fresh Basil, roughly torn – divided (keep some aside for garnish)
- egg(s) to be fried
- butter if you want to fry the egg in butter
NOTE: The amounts of the ingredients are adjustable; use as much or as little of the ingredients to adapt to your taste. I usually use about 4-5 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil for every 1/2 lb of pasta, along with about 5-6 large garlic cloves.
Cook pasta as per instructions in a pot of boiling water, but only al dente. I usually add salt to the water to have the pasta absorb some salt. Drain and save some of the cooking liquid. Set aside.
Add extra virgin olive oil to a heavy bottomed pan. Add the garlic and the crushed pepper and start heating the oil. Keep the heat low or to medium; the oil will be infused with the flavor of garlic and pepper as it heats. Break up the garlic slices in the oil to release the flavor. High heat will burn the garlic and you do not want that. Cook until the garlic starts to sizzle, but they should not turn brown.
Add the sliced mushrooms and increase the heat to high. Cook them until they release no more water and are slightly browned around the edges. Add the halved tomatoes, salt and pepper now and cook at high to medium heat until the tomatoes are lightly softened, but not mushed.
Add the torn fresh basil leaves and stir up the mix. Reduce the heat. Add the cooked pasta and stir it in. Toss for everything to combine. If the pasta is too dry for you, add some of the cooking liquid. Adjust salt and pepper.
To cook the eggs:
Heat butter/olive oil in pan (I use about 2 teaspoons per egg). Carefully break in the egg(s) in to the pan making sure the yolk does not break. Cook at medium heat until the white is set and the yolk is still runny. Top off the pasta with the fried egg(s). Gently toss so that the yolk combines with the pasta for a creamy feel. The egg yolk will cook in the heat of the pasta in the pan
Remove cooked pasta on a serving plate. Garnish with more fresh basil, crushed pepper and olive oil if you wish.
Pasta with Fennel and Tomatoes