I was reading about roasted strawberries a few weeks ago when I was hit with the idea for this pasta. Unfortunately, I was on my way to Montana for a week with my family, so I had to wait until I got back to Toronto to put my creativity in motion and try it out.
Anyone who develops recipes or writes blogs will tell you that there’s nothing more frustrating (I suppose, besides NOT having any ideas at all) than having a great idea for a recipe or a blog post and not being able to execute it for one reason or another. That was the case with this recipe, and I thought about it the entire time on my vacation, longing for the day that I’d be back in my kitchen to see how the combination of strawberries and pasta would turn out.
I guess it may have been a good thing that I had a week to think about it, because I could further develop the recipe in my head. The result was amazing, and I have to admit I’m really proud of this one.
There are a lot of great things about this recipe. First, it uses fresh summer strawberries, which are abundant at this time of year. The roasting brings out their natural sweetness, and the balsamic only complements that. Second, the recipe is simple. Roasting the strawberries takes 30 minutes, during which time you can boil the pasta. Then you just have to throw everything together and it’s done. Third, the dish is a rather surprising mix of ingredients that somehow work together, even when you may think they won’t. Truth be told, The Critic wouldn’t even try the finished product. He loved the strawberries and ended up eating them on ice cream, but he has this weird phobia of mixing fruit with non-fruity dishes. Like pork with apples, peaches in salad, and strawberries in pasta. He gave me an ugly scowl when he saw the plated dish and that was that. Eh, his loss. For the record, my 7 year old daughter loved eating the roasted berries right off the pan, and my mom, who is the most annoying critic of all (sorry mom, love you!), loved the dish. It truly is delicious.
By the way, as the roasted strawberries sit, they become jammy and luscious – so feel free to double the recipe to have some to use on ice cream, yogurt, or on toast instead of jam. I ended up making another batch of them the following day because I couldn’t stop eating them.
1lb strawberries, washed, hulled, and sliced
2T balsamic vinegar
1lb fettuccini pasta, uncooked
1 1/3 cup fresh ricotta cheese
¼ cup basil, chopped
Preheat the oven to 350F.
In a large bowl, toss the berries with the balsamic vinegar and sugar. Spread on a parchment-covered baking sheet and roast at 350F for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven.
While the strawberries are roasting, boil the pasta until it’s cooked.
Drain the pasta, toss with the butter, and divide between 4 plates. Top each pasta serving with 1/3 cup ricotta and 1/3 cup of the strawberries, then sprinkle with 1T basil.