I had my make-up professionally applied, put on a comfortable dress, a high pair of heels, and cooked while Maliah clicked and we chatted.
It was such a relaxed, fun evening, and Maliah was so creative with many great ideas, but my favorite part was sitting down after the pictures for a glass of wine, bread, cheese and more chat.
|Maliahs picture of the olives about to be sliced for the pasta dish|
|Maliahs picture of me sitting on the back deck|
2 tablespoons butter
3/4 pound plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 thyme sprigs
1/2 cup torn basil leaves plus one basil sprig
3 tablespoons olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 ounces of pancetta, diced
1 onion, chopped
1 cup pitted green olives, halved
1 pound rigatoni
2 cups ricotta cheese
3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
Heat oven to 425F and butter a 9 by 13 inch baking dish.
On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the tomatoes, garlic, thyme and basil sprigs with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for about 20 minutes, until softened and brown in spots, let cool. Discard the thyme and basil sprigs and coarsely chop the tomatoes and garlic, reserving any juices.
Meanwhile, in a large deep skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the pancetta and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until browned and nearly crisp, about 5 minutes. Add the onion, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the olives, tomatoes and garlic and the 2 tablespoons of butter, keep warm.
In a pot of salted boiling water, cook the rigatoni until al dente. Drain, reserving 1 1/4 cups of the cooking water. Stir the pasta into the skillet, along with the reserved cooking water, ricotta, torn basil and 1/2 cup of parmesan. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer the pasta to the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of parmesan on top and bake for 15 minutes, until bubbling and browned on top. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.
Recipe adapted from Food and Wine