I figured I'd take the spaghetti and make something else to go on top, since I wasn't crazy about the idea of Ragu and ground beef (in Matt's defense, I had just read on twitter about some meat company that just recalled and insane amount of ground beef for salmonella...and even though it wasn't our brand, it was just kind of unappetizing). SOOOO, I figured that I wanted to come up with something that I could just throw together in a jiffy so that I could pile it all in a bowl, curl up on the couch, and watch Stabler and Benson throw some perverts in jail.
2 juicy ripe tomatoes, cut into medium-large chunks (see photo)
1/2 cup white beans (drained if from a can)
1 garlic clove, minced
Fleur de sel (or some other good sea salt), to taste
Fresh cracked pepper, to taste
2 1/2 to 3 tablespoons really good olive oil
1/2 to 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar (really good as well, not the cheap stuff...see the Verdict for more)
1 tablespoon fresh basil, finely chopped
1 teaspoon fresh oregano, finely chopped
Mix all in a mixing bowl, spoon onto cooked pasta, add freshly shaved parmesan (or grate it...your preference)
Splendid. I love easy things that really satisfy me. This was such a perfect simple meal. I would change it up by using a different pasta. Preferably penne or rigatoni (or basically anything you can pick up with a fork and don't have to twirl)...honestly, it was easier to make this meal than to eat it. Fix the pasta situation and you have a total winner... I, on the other hand, couldn't be picky since my bf was making it for me (I'm spoiled I know). I would save the rest (this made about 2 portions, and I'm only one person) to eat with some really good crusty bread...in fact, I'm planning to do just that tomorrow... total winner, I definitely recommend you make this. You could also make this as a stellar appetizer, by cutting the tomatoes a bit smaller and maybe doubling the recipe. Serve with small pieces of crusty bread (about bruschetta size)... your guests will love it. Add a bit of red onion for extra punch if you feel inclined.
More about using "good" ingredients. Good olive oil is expensive. Same goes with balsamic vinegar. Now, sometimes, it doesn't matter as much. For example, if you are cooking with olive oil, you don't necessarily have to use the best quality olive oil. However, when it comes to something like this, or a vinaigrette when you will actually be tasting the essence of the olive oil in its pure form, you want to have the best olive oil you can reasonably afford to fully enjoy the flavor. Now, I'm not an olive oil snob, per se, but I'll give you a couple suggestions of ones I like (all from Williams-Sonoma because I used to work there and so know these personally, although I presume they are available elsewhere):
This is the one I have: House Olive Oil
Barefoot Contessa's favorite: Olio Santo
Same rules apply for balsamic vinegar...
This is the one I have... I think it is fantastic. I love just dipping bread in it. It's so lovely.
If you have questions, feel free to ask! Enjoy!!