Sunday, July 4, 2010

First dinner back: pasta with tomatoes, basil, and ricotta salata

Our plane back from Spain got in late Wednesday night. On Thursday, we woke up super early, parked in North Berkeley, and spent the day enjoying the Gourmet Ghetto. Ah, it's good to be back in Berkeley. For breakfast, we had waffles and ever-strong coffee at Guerilla Cafe. After a walk to campus for some errands, we went to the brand-new Philz Coffee, my new favorite coffee shop in Berkeley (it's adjacent to Guerilla, my old favorite). We worked there a while, and then went to Gregoire for lunch. We got take-out — B had a shrimp-and-chipotle wrap and I had a Caesar salad with scalops — and walked up to Indian Rock for a picnic. Eventually we made our way back down, and then did our usual Thursday shopping: Safeway, The Cheeseboard, and the Farmers' Market.

At the market, we were excited to find the beginnings of summer tomatoes, and so got to have one of our favorite summer dinners: pasta with tomatoes, basil, garlic, and ricotta salata. During tomato season, we have this dish, which we learned from the Alice Waters books, about once a week. It's fantastic on its own, and also as an accompaniment to light seafood — sole or clams or .... This Italian-flag-colored dish is unassuming, and goes well with a Chardonnay, Chablis, or white "table wine" blend.

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