Thursday, May 31, 2012

30 minute thursday's: tomato basil penne with garlic cheesy bread

I have been debating starting a menu plan/recipe series for awhile now, and after getting some encouragement from my Facebook fans and fine tuning the idea in today my head a bit, today is my first post in a series titled "30 Minute Thursday's".

Whether you work a 9 to 5 or stay home, "what's for dinner?" is a daily battle for us all.  Each week, I will be posting a quick and simple dinner plan, with photos and a step by step.  Hopefully these will give you ideas of quick weeknight meals you can make without a lot of time, ingredients or cash.  I'm excited to share some of my tried and true recipes with you and I'm even more excited to stretch my horizons a bit and find some new awesome recipes to make and post.

Ready to cook with me?  This week's recipe is Tomato Basil Penne with Garlic Cheesy Bread.

Ingredient List:

For the Pasta:
1 lb box of penne pasta {or 1 lb of whatever pasta you have on hand}
1 clamshell of cherry tomatoes
1 large package fresh basil
4 cloves of garlic
Olive oil
Kosher salt
Parmesan cheese {I prefer Parmigiano Regiano}

For the Cheesy Bread {you can double this recipe and use the whole loaf if you like}
1/2 loaf of fresh French bread
3/4 stick of butter {I use salted butter}
2 cloves of garlic
4 oz block of mozzarella cheese. {you don't need fresh mozzarella for this}


Start a big pot of water to boil and add a dash of olive oil to prevent the pasta from sticking.
Rinse tomatoes in a colander, and add them to a large saute pan, with a generous pour of olive oil, 4 minced garlic cloves, and a teaspoon of kosher salt.  Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, add pasta to boiling water and cook as directed on package.
Rinse and Julienne cut the fresh basil.  The way to do this is to layer the leaves one on top of the other until you have a big stack, then roll them up into a little round log shape and use your sharpest knife to slice them into very thin rounds, making your cuts as small/close together as possible.  This will give you beautiful little ribbons and it will only take a minute or two.
Add 3/4 of the basil to the pan with the tomatoes and continue to cook until the tomatoes are softened and beginning to burst.  Check for flavor and add more garlic and salt as necessary.
Serve over hot pasta and top with remaining basil and freshly grated Parmesan.

And now on to the bread...

Garlic Cheesy Bread
The bread can be prepped and cooked while you have down time waiting for the tomatoes to cook.

Slice the bread long ways. 
Shred the cheese.  {Note: pre shredded cheese does not melt as well here}. 
Soften the butter in the micro for a few seconds and add the minced garlic, stirring together with a fork. {Note: save time by using a garlic press. the one I use is shown above}
Slather the garlic butter over the bread halves and top with the cheese.
Broil on high for approximately 3 minutes, checking it every minute or so.  Every broiler is different, you don't want it to get too brown.
Let cook a few minutes, cut into slices and serve!

{Serves 4.  Cost per serving: roughly $4.}


  1. yummy hope to be able to see you soon. xo

  2. I am always looking for new recipes and this looks amazing! I am so happy this will be a blog series! I am a busy mom of 2 and I need quick, healthy ideas! I love that this is a meatless recipe as well... those can be hard to find :) looking forward to coffee with your blog on Tuesdays and Thursdays now!
    -Stacy G.

  3. Adding this to the menu for next week!!! Thanks Amber!

  4. Thanks. I swear, it gets to be more of a drag every year to fix a decent dinner on weeknights. This will be quick an d-lish!

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