Martha's Tomato and Basil Pasta

I can only assume, at this point, you are getting a little tired of making the same three Summer of Burger recipes I have posted. I know I am. Pasta during these hot months is a rarity at our house. If you can't slap it on the grill, we aren't going to cook it.

However, as I looked out at our pot garden...

And at our mounds of roma tomatoes and fresh basil...(you get the idea)

I couldn't pass up this recipe in Martha's August 2010 issue. Isn't funny how often this woman saves the day? It's disgusting.

What I loved most about this recipe is that, if you don't want to, you don't have to do any measuring. That's right. Don't even bother getting out the measuring cup. It's pretty hard to mess up noodles, tomatoes, basil and mozzarella. (And, if you do, I suggest buying this. Again, it's disgusting. This woman is a freakin' genius.)

To break it down for you: cook up some campanelle pasta. Chop up some roma tomatoes. Tear up a little of that basil. Mince your garlic. Grab a few mini-mozzarella balls. Toss. Crack some pepper on it. Sprinkle with salt. That's it! I almost don't even need to do a post on this...it's so easy.

We did a few things differently than Martha...I didn't think she would mind. We cooked the tomatoes a bit (since we only eat raw tomatoes in salsa). Also, the recipe called for a creamy burrata cheese. I found these tiny little mozz balls and couldn't resist. Also, I didn't include it in the pic because I didn't want to send my readers completely over the edge, but to add some meat to this dish, grill up some parm-crusted shrimp and toss those little guys on top. Delicious.



Hello friends! I know the blogosphere has been abuzz lately and people are saying many things about me, including:
A) "Jessi at Vanilla Bean is up to her ears in Burger of the Week recipes. I just saw her the other day and she had a hamburger in each hand...it looks like she has gained at least eight pounds."

B) "Jessi at Vanilla Bean is certainly enjoying the lazy days of summer. I just saw her the other day and she had hamburger in each hand...it looks like she has gained at least eight pounds."

Either way, I have gained at least eight pounds. And I am pretty sure it is because of these mini-cheesecakes. This recipe is awesome for many reasons. It is perfect in those situations when you realize that an entire cheesecake is just too much for two people. Or, when you are entertaining people who are obsessed with tiny foods. What is even better, it is simple. And, whether you are up to your ears in hamburgers or simply enjoying the lazy days of summer, simple is better.

  • 2 (8 oz.) packages of cream cheese
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • vanilla wafers or Oreo cookies
  • 18 cupcake liners
  • pie filling (I like cherry or blueberry), fresh fruit or mini chocolate chips
    1. Cream cream cheese and sugar together.  Add eggs and lemon juice.  Beat until smooth.
    2. Line :cupcake pan with liners.  Place vanilla wafer flat side down in each liner.  If using Oreos, use the chocolate wafers after scraping frosting off.
    3. Fill 3/4 full with cream cheese mixture.  Bake at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.
    4. If using chocolate chips, sprinkle in after 6 min. of cooking and cook for remainder of time.
    5. Allow cheesecakes to cool and store in the fridge.  Paper liners can be left on or removed.
    6. To serve: top with pie filling or fresh fruit.