Pasta With Peaches and Basil
Here's a summertime dish that I am in love with at the moment. Peaches in a savory pasta dish may sound odd, but it really works. I saw a version of this dish on a Japanese TV show a few weeks ago, and thought it sounded odd but intriguing. Indeed it is. The ripe peaches are like the best, juiciest fresh tomatoes ever, and the salt, basil and olive oil turn the sweetness around totally, making it a wonderful savory dish.
The one big requirement of this recipe is that you simply must have good, juicy ripe peaches or nectarines. If you make this with unripe, hard peaches or those awful woolly peaches it will not work at all. You should also use very fresh basil leaves just picked off the plant, the best extra virgin olive oil you can afford, and a good salt.
I think this works best with a thin pasta like cappellini or vermicelli, maybe spaghettini, altough you can try it with very thin handmade noodles. It can be served warm or chilled; I think it tastes peachier when warm, but it's very refreshing cold. It works really well as a first course - and since I'm not allowed to have big portions of pasta that's how I've been enjoying it.
Recipe: Pasta With Peaches and Basil
Type: pasta, appetizer, summer, fruit, vegetarian, vegan
Prep time: 10 min :: Cook time: 15 min :: Total time: 25 min
Serving size: appetizer size (or 1 main dish portion)
- 100g / 3.5 oz thin pasta like capellini, vermicelli or spaghettini
- Salt , for the pasta water
- 3 to 5 very ripe and juicy peaches or nectarines
- 4 to 6 large fresh basil leaves
- 1.5 teaspoons fleur de sel or other good sea salt
- 3 tablespoons good olive oil, divided
- black pepper
- Boil the pasta in salted water following package instructions until al dente (just a bit firm).
- While the pasta is cooking, peel the peaches by dunking them in boiling water for a few seconds (tip: you can just use the pasta water for this) then slipping the skins off. Cut the peaches up into rather big chunks, making sure to keep any juice that drips out of them..
- Rip the basil leaves up with your hands, or finely shred them with a knife..
- Put the cut up peaches, juice and all, into a bowl and toss with the sea salt and 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
- Put the cooked and well drained pasta in a bowl. Add the peaches with the oil and juice and toss well. Add the basil leaves. Taste the pasta and peaches and add a bit more salt if needed. It should taste a bit salty but yet sweet. Add a few grinds of black pepper.
- Serve warm or chilled, drizzled with the remaining olive oil. If serving chilled, leave the basil leaves out and add them just before serving.
Use two kinds of peaches - white and yellow - for added color.
Variation: Peaches and basil with mozzarella
This is just a variation on the classic caprese - tomatoes and mozzarella with basil. Just use sliced peaches instead of the tomato combined with mozzarella (a nice soft and jucy buffalo mozzarella is best), plus basil, olive oil and salt.
(The stuff below is for search engine purposes)
By Makiko Itoh
Published: June 28, 2013